Author Archives: Zbigniew Mazurak

What Western powers should do in response to Russia’s aggression

 

ReaganPeaceQuoteThe Russian aggression against Ukraine, initiated by President Vladimir Putin, has surprised many but not me, and should have surprised no one.

It is simply an inevitable consequence of the West, and especially America’s, shameless appeasement policy towards Russia combined with a long-running policy of unilateral disarmament (while Russia, under Vladimir Putin, has been arming to the teeth).

For many years, and especially the last five, Western nations have been dramatically cutting their militaries, defense budgets, weapon programs, and ambitions, while Russia has been dramatically expanding its own.

And for the last five years running, this writer has been sounding the alarm about these suicidal policies, warning that they would only lead to Russian intimidation, coercion, excesses, muscle-flexing, and eventually, aggression.

This writer most notably sounded the alarm in May 2009, writing that:

“Unless European states and America suddenly adopt a hawkish foreign policy and strengthen their militaries, Europe will become a mere province of the Russian empire.”

And as usual, this writer was right all along.

Meanwhile, all those who falsely claimed that “the Cold War was over”, “Russia is our friend/partner, not our enemy”, “you are a Cold War dinosaur”, “you need to shed this Cold War mentality”, and “the 1980s are asking to have their policy back” were dead wrong.

All those who claimed Russia was a partner and not a foe, that it should be appeased and accomodated, that Obama’s “reset” policy was right, that the US could afford to cut its nuclear arsenal further – from Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and the Cato Institute, to the CNAS, Michele Flournoy, Michael McFaul, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Henry Kissinger, and Pat Buchanan – were DEAD WRONG ALL ALONG.

These people should now publicly admit being wrong and shut their ignorant mouths up. But we should be under no illusions that they will.

Now Ukraine, a strategically important country and a weak neighbor of Russia, has been invaded by that country under the utterly false pretext of protecting Russian citizens and ethnic Russians in the Crimea – who were not threatened by Kiev in any way – just like Hitler annexed the Sudetenland in 1938, ostensibly to protect the Sudetenland Germans from the Czechoslovakian government.

In any case, what can and should Western powers do to stop Putin from going any further?

The first and most important thing is to immediately and permanently STOP listening to the advice from the Powell-Kissinger-Flournoy-Clinton school of foreign policy, which has once again (but not for the first time) been proven DEAD WRONG.

This means no more cuts in the West’s nuclear or conventional arsenals, no more “arms control” treaties, no more accommodating of the Russians’ demands. By committing such a blatant act of aggression, they’ve forfeited the right to be heard on any issue and to make any wishes or demands.

But the West must do much more to convince Vladimir Putin that it’s serious. Mere promises of toughness, verbal condemnations, and “dialogue” won’t stop him from committing further aggression.

Therefore, the US, Canada, and European countries should, until such time as the Putin regime collapses:

1) Immediately institute a TOTAL embargo on ALL Russian products except raw minerals.

2) Hasten the deployment of all stages of the European Phased Adaptive Approach to missile defense in Europe, and build an East Coast missile defense site.

3) Immediately withdraw from the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, the Partial Test Ban Treaty, the New START, and the CFE Treaty.

4) Ban the Russian national air carrier, Aeroflot, from flying into US, Canadian, or EU airspace.

5) Warn Russia that any of its military aircraft that venture into US, Canadian, or EU airspace will be shot down without warning.

6) Expel Russian ambassadors from Western countries.

7) Boycott the upcoming G8 summit and Paralympic Games in Sochi.

8) Reverse all defense (budget, programmatic, force structure) cuts undertaken in the last 12 years and start building Western militaries up. In particular, the US should reverse all the cuts in its nuclear arsenal and fully modernize it; revive the MEADS, Airborne Laser, Kinetic Energy Interceptor, and Multiple Kill Vehicle programs; cancel the F-35 program and resume F-22 Raptor fighter production; develop the Reliable Replacement Warhead and the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator; increase its inventory of MOP bombs; reintroduce S-3 Vikings into service; improve its Navy’s ASW equipment and skills; build a Conventional Prompt Global Strike system; develop ASAT weapons; order more THAAD brigades; speed up naval railgun and laser development and deployment; and make more Aegis-class warships BMD-capable.

9) Lastly, and most importantly, Western countries should strike Russia where it is weakest: its economy. Specifically, Western countries, led by the US, should:

a) Impose total economic sanctions, including a total embargo and asset freezes, on Russia; and

b) Start freeing itself from Russia’s oil and gas domination by opening the Outer Continental Shelf, the ANWR, the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, all shale oil and gas deposits throughout the West, and the reserves in the Everglades; liquifying coal; using methane in lieu of natural gas; cancelling the South Stream pipeline; authorizing the Keystone Pipeline; and building the Nabucco Pipeline instead (and as quickly as possible). In addition, the US, which is already a net oil and gas exporter, should immediately start exporting these fuels to Europe to help it wean itself off Russian hydrocarbons.

The Russian economy is terribly dependent on raw minerals exports; 66% of the Kremlin’s revenue comes from these exports, while manufactured goods exports account for only about 10%. Moreover, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has already caused significant unrest at the Moscow stock exchange, whose main index has seen a 10% fall (and a 20% decline in the Russian currency’s value to the dollar) just today (as of 8:24AM ET, 18:24 Moscow time).

Moreover, Putin’s totally incompetent interference in the affairs of Gazprom, the Russian gas producing and exporting company, has driven it into a debt of $50 billion – equalling its turnover of one year.

This invasion, and Vladimir Putin’s entire buildup of the Russian military, would NOT have been possible absent the boon provided by high oil and gas prices (oil now stands at $105/barrel) and Russia’s stranglehold on their supplies to Europe. If that stranglehold is broken, and if these prices decline dramatically and soon, Putin will have no choice but to withdraw his troops, and his wannabe Evil Empire Redux will fall like a deck of cards.

Those who advocated the ridiculous policy of appeasement and unilateral disarmament that brought us into this mess in the first place now falsely claim that the only alternative to dialogue with Russia is war with that country. That is completely false.

No one wants war with Moscow. And since the Russian military is already more than strong enough to defeat the US military easily, it would be ill-advised.

But as stated above, Russia has one great glaring weakness – its economy – and as Sun Tzu wisely counseled, the right way to defeat your opponent is to strike his weaknesses, not his strengths.

Just as Ronald Reagan (who was vilified as a warmonger who would cause nuclear war) won the Cold War without firing a shot, the West, if it applies the right policies, can defeat Russia today, also without firing a shot, by pulling the economic lever. It absolutely can do so. The question is whether Western leaders will now have the intellectual courage to acknowledge the utter failure of their appeasement policy.

Rebuttal of lies about US nuclear weapons and ICBMs

nukeexplosion

For decades, leftist politicians, media outlets, and “arms control advocates” (read: advocates of America’s unilateral disarmament) have falsely claimed that the US nuclear deterrent is obsolete, unneeded, and unimportant. They have recently been joined by some pseudoconservative, pseudo-pro-military outlets such as the Air Force Magazine, the press organ of the Air Force Association.

Concurrently, for decades, Washington has carelessly and inexplicably neglected and underfunded the US nuclear deterrent, delaying its much-needed modernization until now, when the can cannot be kicked down the road any longer.

It is for THESE reasons, and not for the reasons the anti-military Left claims, that the US nuclear deterrent, or more specifically, its ICBM force, has witnessed a degrengolade in the last few years, with over 30 officers suspended or fired for cheating on tests (or tolerating cheating by others), a few others arrested for drug usage, and a two-star ICBM general punished for binge-drinking in Moscow.

It is precisely because of over two decades of unceasing leftist propaganda about the supposed obsolence and uselessness of the nuclear deterrent, unceasing Leftist attacks on it and proposals to cut or eliminate it outright, and because of over two decades of underfunding and neglecting the nuclear deterrent, that the ICBM force is showing such rot.

For over two decades, the nation has been (wrongly) telling the young men and women maintaining and operating America’s ICBMs, bombers, and ballistic missile subs that their mission doesn’t exist, their work doesn’t matter, and their tools of trade are useless (which, BTW, couldn’t be further from the truth). Guess what? Those young folks’ morale and motivation for work have collapsed – and consequently, so have their work ethic and standards.

As for drug and alcohol problems, these – like cheating on tests and tolerating cheating by others – are nothing but simple reflections of the American society as a whole. They’re commonplace in the entire US military – which is nothing but a reflection of the society it serves. And that society is, to be blunt, morally degenerate and rotten to the core.

Lexington Institute COO Loren Thompson, Ph.D., who taught nuclear deterrence issues at Georgetown some years back, says the ICBM force’s rot may have something to do with the forementioned dismissal and neglect of the nuclear deterrent.

Excuse me? It has EVERYTHING to do with that dismissal of the need for, and the neglect of, the nuclear deterrent.

The Real Causes of the ICBM Force’s Rot

The Air Force personnel who operate these missiles – the missileers – no longer feel appreciated, no longer believe their mission is vital, and thus, no longer feel the need to perform it to the best of their ability. And they know that these days, in an era of universal deceit, when the entire nation is deluding itself that it no longer needs nuclear weapons, being a missileer is a career killer.

This is a total contrast to the Cold War years, when the Air Force had a Strategic Air Command, controlling all of the nation’s ICBMs, bombers, tankers, and even some escort fighters. It was almost a shadow state within the Air Force, a powerful, awesome, and unstoppable military force all by itself, wielding far more ICBMs and bombers than the USAF does today.

On paper, it was just a part of the Air Force – but it was its most important component by far and THE crown jewel of all military commands. The dream of every missileer and bomber pilot during the Cold War was to end up commanding the SAC. SAC was not just a hugely important command in and of itself – several of its leaders, from Curtis “Bombs Away” LeMay to John D. Ryan to Larry D. Welch – ended up serving as Chiefs of Staff of the whole Air Force.

Thus, the job of a missileer, and of a bomber pilot, carried enormous prestige and gave young officers great career prospects in the Air Force – up to and often including the top position in the USAF.

Leftist anti-nuclear hacks, such as Joe Cirincione and AP reporter Robert Burns, falsely claim that the ICBM force is rotten because it’s “an outdated command wielding outdated weapons” and that its mission no longer exists. The Air Force Magazine’s chief editor, Adam J. Hebert, has also falsely claimed that there is no clear or significant nuclear threat facing the US and that therefore further reductions in America’s nuclear deterrent are “inevitable.”

All of these are blatant lies.

Clear and Present Danger

The nuclear threats facing the US are clear, many, and grave, and thus the need for a large US nuclear arsenal is very real. In fact, that need is now greater than ever.

Russia has 2,800 strategic nuclear warheads (of which at least 1,500 are operationally deployed right now, and the rest could also be deployed at any moment) and 4,000 tactical nuclear weapons – 6,800 nukes in total (the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists estimates Russia’s nuclear arsenal even higher, at 8,800 weapons).

Russia’s ICBM fleet alone can deliver 1,684 warheads to the CONUS; Russia’s 251 strategic bombers (Tu-95, Tu-22M, Tu-160) can deliver well over 1,700; Russia’s 13 ballistic missile subs can deliver another 1,400 to 2,000, depending on the missile type. On top of that, Russia has attack and cruise missile submarines also armed with nuclear-tipped missiles – all of which can also be delivered to the US, and Russian subs have, in recent months, indeed been prowling US territorial waters.

China has at least 1,600, and possibly up to 3,000, nuclear weapons, according to General Viktor Yesin and Dr Philip Karber (the DOD’s chief nuclear strategist under Ronald Reagan, the last time US nuclear policy was made by sane people). To deliver them, China has at least 87 (and probably many more) ICBMs, 6 ballistic missile submarines, 440 nuclear-capable aircraft, over 100 medium-range ballistic missiles, and over 1,200 short-range ballistic missiles, as well as hundreds of ground-launched cruise missiles.

Neither Russia’s or China’s nuclear arsenals are at a standstill. Both are undergoing rapid modernization and expansion.

Russia intends to procure 400 new ICBMs and is currently developing three new ICBM types (the Sarmat, the Rubezh, and the Yars) as well as a pseudo-ICBM (really an IRBM) to evade INF Treaty limits. It has recently tested IRBMs in blatant violation of that treaty. It is also fielding two new submarine-launched ballistic missiles (the Layner and the Bulava, carrying 12 and 10 warheads, respectively), building a new ballistic missile submarine class, and developing a new long-range bomber, the PAK DA.

China is now procuring two new ICBM types (the DF-31A and DF-41), two new MRBM types (the DF-21 and DF-25), building two new ballistic missile submarine classes, and developing a stealthy intercontinental bomber capable of hitting the CONUS, as well as two new, longer-ranged variants of its standard sub-launched missile, the JL-2, whose current range is 8,000-9,000 km; the Chinese want to extend that to 14,000 kms, which will allow their submarines to threaten all of the US while sitting in their homeports.

Not only do Russia and China wield large nuclear arsenals, they’re also quite willing to use them against those whom they perceive as weaker than them. Russia has threatened to aim or launch its nuclear weapons at America or its allies on at least 16 separate occassions in the last 16 years. It has recently deployed Iskander short-range ballistic missiles to Poland’s borders. In the last 2 years, starting in May 2012, it has repeatedly flown nuclear-armed strategic bombers close to and sometimes into US and allied airspace, and even that of neutral countries like Sweden – twice!

China has recently removed any mention of its former “no-first-use” policy from its defense policy papers, and in recent months, OFFICIAL Chinese state media, including the virulently anti-American Global Times, have posted maps of the US showing what deadly nuclear strikes could China unleash upon the US with its JL-2 and DF-31A missiles. Chinese state-owned media gleefully and openly commented on how many millions of Americans would die in Chinese nuclear strikes on the CONUS.

These are the principal adversaries America must confront and deter. No amount of “arms control” or smooth-talking or diplomacy will do. Only a large, diverse, powerful nuclear arsenal, operated by people whose mission is appreciated, can protect America against these threats.

On top of that, the US must also deter North Korea and Iran. The former already has nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them to the CONUS, the latter is well on its way to acquiring that capability.

In fact, the “moderate” Iranian president Rouhani openly claims that the West’s recent deal with Iran signed in  on the subject of the Iranian nuclear program is a “capitulation” to Iran by Western countries. (He’s actually right – the deal is nothing but a shameful surrender.)

Defending America’s Allies is in America’s Own National Interest

On top of that, the US must provide a nuclear umbrella not only to itself, but also to over 30 allies and friends around the world, from Canada, to Israel, to Persian Gulf allies, to Poland, to South Korea and Japan.

Many of these allies will have no choice but to develop their own nuclear weapons if the US continues cutting its nuclear arsenal. They cannot afford to, and will not, bet their security and their very existence on America breaking free of its “disarming ourselves will make us safer” delusion – or on such delusions and constant cuts in the US nuclear umbrella increasing their security.

Already, Saudi Arabia possesses DF-3 missiles bought from China and has ordered nuclear weapons in Pakistan, and 66% of South Koreans want their country to have its own nuclear deterrent. Japan is ready to develop one, too – it has a facility capable of producing enough material for 3,600 nuclear weapons in a year if need be.

That would make the nuclear proliferation problem much worse than it already is.

ICBMs Are Crucial – And Very Cheap

And as for ICBMs supposedly being obsolete and too expensive, they are anything but. They cost the DOD only 1.1 bn dollars to maintain and can, thanks to their large number (450, sitting in hardened siloes) absorb even large nuclear blows and still retaliate against an enemy. Only Russia or China could even attempt to destroy them. They have a readiness rate of 99% and can hit any target in the world.

They contribute mightily to nuclear deterrence and stability, and thus to US, allied, and world security.

If ICBMs are really “obsolete” and “expensive weapons, someone better tell that to the Russians, the Chinese, and the Israelis!

Because all of them possess, and continue to develop and build, such weapons.

How To Restore Order And Excellence In The ICBM Force

So how to restore order and excellence in the ICBM force, and the broader nuclear force? That’s easy – it’s just that Washington politicians are unwilling to do so, and the advocates of America’s unilateral disarmament will be dead set against this. But this must be done nonetheless. US, allied, and global security depends on America taking the following steps:

1. Draw up a proper national defense strategy which will prioritize countering nation state threats, especially those posed by Russia, China, and North Korea, over all other aims, and will designate nuclear weapons as the primary means of deterring and defeating these threats – just like nuclear weapons occupy the central place in Russia’s current military doctrine.

2. Publicly proclaim that maintaining and revitalizing all three legs of the nuclear triad, as well as the warheads and the associated facilities, is and will be one of the DOD’s top priorities, and assign funding accordingly. (It will, in any case, cost only 6-7% of the total US military budget to modernize the nuclear deterrent, at between 31 and 35 bn dollars per year out of a 600 bn total military budget.)

3. Withdraw from the New START treaty and reject any calls for any further cuts in the US nuclear deterrent.

4. Publicly proclaim that any attack by Russia, China, North Korea, or Iran against the US or any of its allies, including Israel and its Persian Gulf allies, will result in a massive nuclear retaliation by the US.

5. Publicly proclaim that service as a missileeer and as a bomber pilot is a very noble and glorious service to the Nation and underline its importance to global security. Award medals for long, distinguished service in those roles.

6. Redesignate the Air Force’s Global Strike Command as the Strategic Air Command and restore the old SAC’s logo and motto. Give missileers and bomber pilots a clear, achievable career path to the positions of SAC Commander, AF Chief of Staff, and Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, so that the job of a missileer and that of a bomber pilot will be a very attractive career (as it deserves to be), and not the career killer it currently is for missileers.

7. Strict discipline through punishments needs to be instituted across the entire military (not just the ICBM force), ESPECIALLY towards senior officers.

In sum, nuclear disarmament advocates’ claims are all blatant lies, as always. The need for a large nuclear deterrent, and for the US nuclear triad, is greater than ever because of the threats from Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran. Advocates of America’s disarmament, in and out of government, have, however, been vehemently denying the existence of these threats, and inexplicably neglected the US nuclear deterrent. THIS is why that deterrent is wearing out – as is the morale and work motivation of USAF missileers.

Rebuttal of British “analysts” global power delusions

A British blogger has recently published a post on the ConservativeHome website wherein he claims, based on rubbish produced by two British pseudo-analysts, that Britain is a global power and the second most important country in the world.

The two pseudo-analysts he borrows his opinion from base their claim on utterly false “reasons.” They claim, inter alia, that the size of a country’s economy and population don’t matter, and that Russia’s and China’s militaries are inferior to those of Britain and France and have nothing but obsolete equipment and poorly trained troops.

All of this is utter garbage, and I’ll show you why.

Firstly, the Russian and Chinese militaries in fact wield very large quantities of modern weaponry – which is as good or, in some cases, even superior to British and French weapons. This is particularly true in the field of submarines, surface combatants, and missiles.

The Russian and Chinese Air Forces are equipped with hundreds of modern, highly-capable Flanker (Su-27/30/35/J-11/J-16) and MiG-29 Fulcrum jets, as well as almost 200 MiG-31 high-altitude interceptors in Russian service. They also have (individually) more tanker and airborne early warning aircraft than Britain or France have. Their ground forces have very modern and potent tanks (Type 98 and T-90), IFVs, APCs, and other ground weapons, and far more reliable rifles (Kalashnikovs) than the standard rifles of the British (SA80) and French (FAMAS) Armies.

The Russian and Chinese navies have large numbers of modern surface combatants such as the Sovremenny and Type 051/052 classes (the latter being called the Chinese Aegis but in fact being far more capable than the US Arleigh Burke, British Daring, or European Horizon class) and their various (Burevestnik, Gorshkov, Jiangwei, etc.) frigate classes. Both Russia and China also have an aircraft carrier, and both plan to build more of these. Both also operate ultra-quiet conventional and nuclear-powered submarines (e.g. the Kilo, Lada, Song, Yuan, Akula, Yasen, and Type 095 classes). China also has more than enough amphibious assault ships to invade Taiwan and any other island in the Western Pacific, and Russia has four modern French Mistral class amphibs on order.

Russia and China also have large quantities of air-, ground-, and sea-launched land-attack cruise missiles of the Kh-55, Kh-101/102, DH-10, CJ-10, and Hongniao families and the platforms to deliver them. They also possess thousands of supersonic Sunburn, Sizzler, and Yingji family anti-ship cruise missiles. One Sunburn or Sizzler would suffice to sink an American supercarrier. They also have thousands of short-range, and over a hundred medium-range, ballistic missiles (DF-11, DF-15, DF-21, DF-25, DF-3, DF-4, Iskander, Yars-M).

Moscow and Beijing both also wield potent ballistic missile defense systems, highly sophisticated and redundant Air Defense Systems (SA-11/17, S-300, S-400, HQ-9), dozens of anti-satellite weapons (which China has tested twice), laser weapons, and a class of arms that neither Britain nor France has or will ever have, and which even the US has only tested and not deployed – hypersonic Prompt Global Strike Weapons like the one China tested on January 9th. These will allow Moscow and Beijing to strike any target anywhere in the world within an hour or less – and the target would be unable to defend itself from such attack, for the missile would be way too fast (flying at 5 or more times the speed of sound!) to intercept.

And that is to say nothing of Russia’s and China’s large, modern, and growing nuclear arsenals, Russia wielding 6,800 nuclear weapons and China between 1,600 and 3,000. Britain’s and France’s nuclear arsenals are so small (200 and 300 warheads, respectively) that both Russia and China could easily destroy these tiny, meager arsenals in a single preemptive strike. It is only because of the US nuclear umbrella that they haven’t done so. Britain’s entire nuclear deterrent consists of 4 ballistic missile submarines, only one of which is ever at sea – and given how noisy those submarines are, they would be quite easy to find. Russian ASW ships and aircraft would have no more trouble finding the single French ballistic missile sub on patrol.

Now, how do European militaries compare? With the partial exception of France, the less is said about European militaries – including that of Britain – the better.

Britain has no maritime patrol aircraft (the last ones, the Nimrods, have been retired, ostensibly on cost grounds), no aircraft carriers, no bombers, no conventional submarines, and no ground-launched cruise or ballistic missiles. It has only 3 amphibious assault ships (one of which is due to be decommissioned in a few years), 7 attack submarines, 6 destroyers, and 13 frigates. That, plus the Antarctic patrol ship Endurance, 15 minesweepers, and auxiliaries, is basically all that’s left of Britain’s once-mighty Royal Navy.

The problems continue with the RAF and the British Army. They have only 160 fighters (all of them inferior to the Flankers), a dozen tankers, a few AWACS aircraft, 200 tanks, and a paucity of artillery pieces.

France’s military fares somewhat better. It has a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, two legs of a nuclear deterrent, deadly transonic anti-ship cruise missiles, and does have maritime patrol aircraft (Atlantique-2 and Falcon). Whenever its aircraft carrier, Charles de Gaulle, sets sail, France can project power anywhere in the world.

But that capability is put on hold whenever the ship returns to port, and otherwise, France’s military has had serious trouble projecting power abroad, as recent French military operations have demonstrated. France is woefully short on tankers, AEW and transport aircraft, and even strike jets (and doesn’t have intercontinental bombers), as demonstrated by its recent ops in Libya and Mali – forcing France to rely on the US on these aircraft and munitions in both cases (except that the US refused to provide strike aircraft in Mali). Yet, the new French White Paper on Defense envisages even more cuts in all these categories of aircraft! The French Air Force is to have no more than 180 fighters and attack jets, and the Navy no more than 45!

In fact, the tragic weakness of the British, French, and other European militaries was revealed for the whole world to see in both Libya and Mali (as well as in Kosovo a decade earlier). European militaries had a shortage of strike, AEW, and tanker aircraft as well as munitions, forcing the US to fill the gap. In Libya, as in Kosovo 12 years earlier, the US had to fly not only the vast majority of combat missions, but also all the AEW, intel-surveillance-recon, and aerial refueling missions.

So no, Britain no longer has any global military capabilities and is absolutely not a global military power any longer.

Don’t take my word for it. Listen to Royal Navy admirals. The late Admiral Sandy Woodward, the man who recaptured the Falklands from the Argentines in 1982, said a few years ago that Britain could not repeat this feat today because of successive governments’ massive defense cuts. Rear Admiral Alan Massey, a former skipper of the now-decomissioned HMS Ark Royal, wrote in an official report in 2008 that the Royal Navy would struggle to repeat its role in the Iraq War! And that was in 2008 – BEFORE the Cameron government’s draconian defence cuts!

So not only is the British military tiny and poorly equipped, it can no longer project power beyond the region of Europe. Therefore, it is not a global military power in any sense of the word.

The two pseudo-analysts whose screed I’m refuting here claim that the UK and France have bases around the world and that makes them global military powers. Firstly, bases are useful only if you have something meaningful to project from them. Secondly, how many military bases does the UK have in North America? How many in East Asia? How many in Africa? How many in the South Pacific? How many in the Persian Gulf? That’s right – zero.

(France does have a number of bases in Africa, as well as some in the Persian Gulf, the South Pacific, the Carribean,  and the Indian Ocean. Once again, France’s military is a better position to project military power than Britain’s.)

So, despite those two British pseudo-analysts claiming that global power projection capabilities, and not raw numbers of tanks, planes, ships, and missiles, are meaningful metrics of military power, Britain has been found badly wanting on this criterion as well.

Moreover, size and quantity do matter, too – and far more than those British pseudo-analysts appreciate. A small or mid-sized country can, if it dedicates enough resources and uses them wisely, become very powerful in its own backyard and punch above its weight in that region. Israel and North Korea are examples of that.

But only big economic and military powers can exercise power GLOBALLY. Currently, only the US, Russia, and China can do that. These are the three most important countries in the world. Britain, France, and others simply do not have the size or the mass to exercise power on a global scale.

And contrary to those pseudo-analysts’ claims, size and quantity have mattered throughout history. They claim France never beat Britain in the 18th or 19th century, despite having a far larger populace and economy. But this is also utterly false: France did beat Britain handily in one war, namely, the American War of Independence. Without French aid, the American Revolution would’ve been quelled by 1780 (and it almost was), because the Americans simply didn’t have the critical mass to defeat the British at that time. Washington’s entire strategy was to keep fighting, or at least keep his army intact, until the French would intervene.

As for France’s eventual defeat in the Napoleonic Wars, it took several coalitions and over 15 years of fighting to accomplish that. And most of the heavy lifting was done by the continental armies of Russia, Prussia, and Austria plus the Spanish guerillas. As Austrian Emperor Francis I said, “The English traffickers of human flesh. They pay others to fight in their place.”

This was after the battle of Austerlitz, where the Austrians and the Russians fought the French because the British Army was too inferior to do a one-on-one battle with the French. So a coalition was formed against France, and the UK government contracted a huge amount of debt to pay the Austrians and the Russians to fight Napoleon… and they still lost to the superior French army, by the way.

In fact, Britain was able to punch above its weight for over two centuries solely because of its mastery of diplomacy and coalition-making, as well as appreciation of the Royal Navy’s importance – all traits that the current UK government sorely lacks.

Throughout history, small and midsized countries have often put up fierce resistance in their independence’s defense, and have sometimes been able to punch above their weight (again, refer to Israel and North Korea). But only big countries with large economies, militaries, and populations can exert global military, economic, and geopolitical influence.

Last but not least, look at who has actually been geopolitically successful in the last two years: Russia and China. Russia has opened a port in the Med, deterred the US from atttacking Syria, sheltered Edward Snowden while daring the US to capture him, clawed Ukraine away before it could begin integrating with the West, bribed Ukrainian oligarchs with 17 billion dollars, set up bases in the Arctic, and tested IRBMs in defiance of the INF Treaty. China has tested a hypersonic global strike weapon and an ASAT missile, declared an ADIZ around the Senkakus and an exclusive fisheries zone around the Spratlys, and shielded Kim Jong-un from any consequences of his provocations while stealing tons of data from US weapon programs.

To sum up, only big heavyweights can exercise global power. Small and midsized countries cannot. And Britain, with its total lack of global military power projection capabilities, is most certainly NOT a global power in any sense of the word.

It’s time for the Brits to stop deluding themselves that the UK is a global power, when it isn’t.

Rebuttal of leftist lies about US tactical nukes in Europe

nukeexplosion

This week, a leftist group called the “Peterson Defense Advisory Committee”, an organization that advocates deep unilateral cuts in America’s nuclear deterrent, will hold a meeting on Capitol Hill intended to propagandize members of Congress, their staffers, and the public into believing that US tactical nuclear weapons are no longer needed in Europe. By their own admission, they also advocate cutting the US nuclear arsenal, and particularly its tactical part, unilaterally.

This will be a treasonous act, as would be the cuts themselves. Cutting the US nuclear arsenal any further – let alone unilaterally – would be utterly suicidal. And cutting the tactical part would be especially idiotic. Here’s why.

US tactical nuclear weapons are the most visible part of America’s extended nuclear deterrent – the nuclear umbrella the US provides to itself and to over 30 allies around the world, from Britain to Poland, to Israel, to the Gulf States, to South Korea and Japan.

The majority of America’s small arsenal of 400 tactical nukes is deployed in Europe as a visible and tangible nuclear umbrella. These weapons could, of course, be redeployed to other allied countries to reassure them (e.g South Korea and Japan) as well – and indeed, over 70% of South Koreans want US tactical nukes to be deployed on the Peninsula. Nothing reassures US allies more than the physical presence of US nuclear weapons on their soil.

Hardly surprising, then, that NATO UNANIMOUSLY reaffirmed the need for US tactical nukes’ presence in Europe in 2010 and 2012, that the Joint Chiefs unanimously support maintaining them there, and that President Obama does as well – his most recent nuclear weapons guidance strongly underlines the need for keeping US tactical nukes in Europe.

Why do America’s allies – European and non-European alike – want to be protected by these weapons, and indeed by the US military in general, so much?

Because they, like America, are facing very real military threats.

Europe is still living under the shadow of Russia’s nuclear threat, magnified in the last 14 by proud KGB thug and Russia’s dictator for life Vladimir Putin. In the last 7 years alone, Russia has threatened to aim or even use its nuclear weapons against Europe and the US on 16 different occassions. Moreover, in its current military doctrine, Russia claims the right to use nuclear weapons first, even against countries that do not have such weapons!

And furthermore, Russia has repeatedly flown its nuclear-armed bombers close to, and sometimes into, the airspace of the US, allied countries, and even neutral countries like Sweden (twice!). In May 2012, when flying nuclear-armed bombers close to Alaska, the Russians declared they were “practicing strikes on the enemy” – their enemy being the US.

Russia has 4,000 nuclear weapons and the means to deliver all of them with a wide variety of systems, from strike aircraft like the Su-24, Su-27/30/35 Flanker and Su-34, to attack and cruise missile submarines armed with nuclear-tipped missiles, to surface ships, to artillery pieces, to IRBMs and SRBMs like the Iskander (SS-26 Stone), the latter recently deployed in the Kaliningrad District on Poland’s border. These missiles enable Russia to target all but the very southernmost part of Poland, one of America’s staunchest and most helpful allies.

America’s Middle Eastern and East Asian allies face very serious nuclear threats as well. Japan and South Korea live in the shadow of the Chinese and North Korean nuclear threats.

China has at least 1,600, and up to 3,000, nuclear weapons, and the means to deliver at least 1,300 of them. Besides its strategic triad of ICBMs, ballistic missile subs, and long-range bombers, China also has 280 tactical nuclear strike aircraft, over 1,200 short-range ballistic missiles, over 120 MRBMs, and hundreds of nuclear-capable cruise missiles such as the DH-10, CJ-10, and HN-3. These missiles and aircraft can strike anywhere in Japan, South Korea, and as far as Singapore, Indonesia, and Guam if need be.

North Korea has a much smaller nuclear arsenal, of a dozen or so warheads, and only a handful of ICBMs capable of reaching the US. But it has over 1,000 SRBMs and hundreds of MRBMs capable of reaching all of South Korea and Japan, and some of its MRBMs can even reach Guam! North Korea, moreover, is run by an extremely aggressive and warlike dictatorship led by a young man held hostage by a clique of warmongering generals.

Little wonder, then, that over 70% of South Koreans want US tactical nukes back on the Peninsula, and 66.5% of them want South Korea to have its own nuclear deterrent as well. Or that Japan has a facility capable of producing enough plutonium for 3,600 nuclear weapons in a year if need be.

America’s Middle Eastern allies, meanwhile, are increasingly worried by the progress of Iran’s nuclear weapons programme, which the recent Munich-style deal will not even slow down, let alone stop. It codifies Iran’s purported “right” to enrich uranium and contains NO restrictions on its ballistic missiles!  Again, unless the US is prepared and willing to carry out massive, crippling bombings of Iran, it has no choice but to provide a credible nuclear umbrella to its Middle Eastern allies – and for that, tactical as well as strategic nuclear weapons are needed.

And the cost, which the PDAC and other leftist groups complain about? The cost of stationing the weapons abroad – the aircraft, bases, and maintenance – are covered by NATO allies. As for the cost of the warheads themselves, modernizing and prolonging the service life of the B61 tactical nuclear bomb will cost only 10 billion over the next decade – i.e. 1 billion per year, out of an annual military budget of 607 bn.

It is utterly false and ridiculous to claim the US cannot afford to invest just one billion dollars a year to maintain and modernize the most crucial part of its nuclear deterrent – that which constitutes its extended nuclear umbrella for its allies, reassures those allies, and is also the main armament of America’s own strategic bombers.

Shame on the PDAC and other leftist groups, as well as the Democrats, for lying so blatantly about US nuclear weapons and advocating unilateral cuts in these. They are traitors.

Rebuttal of Robert Gates and his BS book

Eagle- America Deserves Better

Today,  a book by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates will hit the stores. Already some parts of it have been released to the media, which, depending on their political preferences, have focused on the parts favorable or unfavorable to Obama and the Democrats.

But equally (if not more) important is Robert Gates’ disastrous tenure as Defense Secretary under both Presidents Bush and Obama, which, even before Obama’s arrival at the White House, began to sow the seeds of America’s military and thus geopolitical decline.

Crucial Platforms Killed On False Pretexts

Gates calls himself “a Defense Secretary at War”, even though he has never seen one day of combat, has never been deployed to a war zone, and spent his entire “career in the national security arena” as a bureaucrat in Washington, DC. Most of his book is about how he ran the disastrous and useless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and I’ll get to that later.

But first, let me tell you how Gates tried to pay for these utterly useless wars that he was singularly obsessed with: by killing the very weapons systems America needs now and will need in the future to deter and if necessary defeat China, Russia, Iran, and other potential aggressors.

Based on his singular obssession with Afghanistan and Iraq, his myopic shortsightedness, and his naive view of China and Russia, Gates killed over 50 crucial weapon programs based on the most idiotic of pretexts.

For example, he stopped the production of the F-22 fighter – the best jet fighter ever built – at a mere 187 copies, whereas the USAF had long said that at least 337 would be needed to maintain US air superiority and defeat advanced Russian and Chinese fighters, and despite clear evidence from experts such as those at the Air Force Association and Air Power Australia that ONLY the F-22 Raptor could meet that requirement.

Gates thus participated in the smear propaganda against the F-22, fired Air Force Secretary Mike Wynne and Chief of Staff T. Michael Moseley (who advocated continuing its production), forced other Air Force F-22 advocates to retire, and advised Obama to veto any defense bill containing funding for F-22 production – a veto threat that sufficed to scare Congress into deleting that funding after it had already been authorized by the House Armed Services Committee, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees, and the full House.

Gates also refused to buy the F-15 Silent Eagle – the newest version of the venerable and combat-proven F-15 Eagle equipped with the newest radar and IRST system, conformal (internal) weapon bays, and stealthy from the front. He put all of America’s airpower eggs into one basket – the utterly failed F-35 program – and killed virtually every alternative to it.

That decision has proven itself to be the most idiotic any defense secretary has ever made, for the F-35 is so well-known for its cost-overruns, delays, bugs, and giant weaknesses that there wouldn’t be enough space even in a dedicated article to list them all, or even to list all references to sources narrating them.

But those cost overruns, delays, bugs, and weaknesses were already well-known in 2009, when Gates killed the F-22 Raptor. Since then, of course, the F-35 Junk Strike Fighter program’s performance has dramatically deteriorated further: the cost overruns and delays have mounted, critical systems have been deleted from the F-35 to reduce cost, and allies are now balking at buying it and looking for alternatives. Which competitors like Dassault, EADS, Saab, and others are all too happy to provide.

(What is the difference between the F-22 and the F-35? The former was designed from the start to do one thing: achieve absolute air superiority. To that end, it is has a tiny radar signature to evade radar detection, is very fast and high-flying, is very agile and maneuverable, has the most powerful fighter radar in the world, and can carry 8 missiles in its stealthy mode – or 12 when enemy air defenses are down. By contrast, the F-35 is not truly stealthy, can carry only 4 missiles, is slow and low-flying, and is so heavy and unmaneuverable that jets from the 1960s could easily defeat it. It is useful neither for air to air nor air to ground combat. It’s not capable or survivable enough for high-tech environments, and is too expensive and overbuilt for counter-insurgency operations.)

The F-22 was but one of the many crucial weapon systems Bob Gates killed, thus leaving the US military unprepared for the current military competition with China and Russia. He killed the stealthy Zumwalt class of destroyers at just 3 ships, supposedly on cost grounds, but ignoring the fact that it was precisely the reduction of planned orders from 32 to 3 ships that caused the price to spike – because economies of scale were lost. He killed the AC-X gunship, a badly-needed replacement for the USAF’s Vietnam-era AC-130 gunships, and the EP-X electronic intelligence plane, a sorely needed replacement for the EP-3. He terminated C-17 production at 221 aircraft, claiming the USAF had ordered enough of these, when the USAF was actually so short on airlifters it had to rent Russian aircraft – at higher prices than what it would pay for BUYING more C-17s.

Most worryingly of all, Gates terminated the Multiple Kill Vehicle, Kinetic Energy Interceptor, and Airborne Laser programs in 2009. The MKV would’ve been a kinetic metal “warhead” designed to shoot down enemy missiles. It was to be kind of a defensive MIRV bus which would’ve released dozens of small “kill vehicles” that would’ve shot down lots of enemy ballistic missiles all at once. (Currently, a single kill vehicle from a single interceptor can kill only one enemy missile.) This would’ve solved the target discrimination problem missile defense critics often complain about – which among the missiles or warheads are real ones and which ones are duds would’ve been irrelevant, because ALL of them would be shot down.

The KEI and the Airborne Laser, for their part, would’ve enabled the US to shoot down enemy missiles in the earliest phase of their flight, when their countermeasures have NOT been deployed yet and their deadly payloads have not yet been released. In other words, when enemy missiles are the most vulnerable. This would’ve come in handy when countering any missiles, especially the hypersonic, high-speed global range missile recently tested by China (as reported by Bill Gertz in the WFB).

But America no longer has that option – because Secretary Gates terminated both of these programs in 2009, even though the ABL program, despite its infancy, was progressing well, having passed 3 out of its 5 tests before being terminated.

So when you read Bill Gertz’s articles in the WFB, the Washington Times, on Fox News, or elsewhere about China’s global range hypersonic missiles, remember America does NOT have defenses capable of stopping those missiles, and that is thanks to Obama and Gates.

Russian and Chinese threats on the horizon

But China’s development as a huge threat to US and allied security, and as a contender to replace the US as the world’s top military power, is nothing new. It was already evident during Gates’ tenure as SECDEF.

Already during Gates’ time, there already was strong evidence that China was closing most gaps with the US military and working to create its own unique advantages. There already was solid evidence China was working to overtake the US militarily and would achieve that objective absent US efforts to maintain an edge over Beijing. Yet, Gates harbored a desire to appease Beijing as well as to drive America deeper into useless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. So he ignored all that evidence, surpressed the truth and professional advice, lied to the American public, appeased Beijing with word and deed, and killed the very programs needed to counter the People’s Republic’s military buildup.

By 2009, China already had more attack submarines, and almost as many subs in total, as the US – and was steadily replacing old ones with new, ultra-quiet ones. It already had a large nuclear arsenal. It already had two stealth fighters under development. It already had almost as many ships in total as the US Navy, had deployed a dense and modern air defense network, already wielded thousands of missiles capable of targeting all US bases in the Western Pacific, already possessed anti-satellite kinetic and laser weapons, and already had hundreds of advanced fighter aircraft.

Russia was also busy building up its military, increasing its nuclear arsenal, and developing new, cutting edge weapons.

In 2010, Russia’s first stealth fighter, the PAK FA, first flew. This aircraft, when it enters service, will render EVERY fighter in the world except the F-22 Raptor impotent, irrelevant, obsolete, and useless. It will essentially be Russia’s response to the Raptor.

In January 2011, China’s first stealth fighter, the J-20, took to the air – at exactly the time Gates was visiting China. The Gates Pentagon was caught completely by surprise by this development, even though those of us who were clear-eyed about the Chinese threat had been warning for years that the J-20 (J-XX) would soon perform its maiden flight.

At the same time, China and Russia were also protecting America’s enemies North Korea and Iran and shielding them from any consequences of their provocations and illegal nuclear programs.

Also, advanced Chinese and Russian weapons, including the forementioned fighters, will be available to anyone able to pay for them.

But whenever someone dared to call on the US to prepare itself for possible confrontations with China, Gates derided that person as ill with “next-war-itis”, and he ordered the DOD to limit itself to fighting useless “counter-insurgency” wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Under Gates, tens of billions of dollars were thrown away buying mine-resistant vehicles and nonstealthy, short-ranged, poorly armed drones like the Predator and the Reaper – which are useful only for fighting terrorists, but utterly useless against any nation state wielding any advanced weaponry.

Now that the Iraq war is long over, and the Afghan war is coming to an end, all those mine-resistant (MRAP) vehicles and drones will have to be sold to allies, stored, or scrapped.

Thanks to Gates, who stubbornly advocated staying in Afghanistan and Iraq almost indefinitely and throwing hundreds of billions of dollars at them, the US is now dramatically worse off: well over a trillion dollars has been spent fighting those wars, billions more will be spent on caring for veterans of these wars, and over 5,400 brave US troops have died for no good reason.

While Gates attempts to portray himself as a man who stood by military uniformed leaders during crisis times, his tenure in the Pentagon was actually marked by an unrestrained use of political power to surpress the truth and professional military advice in order to fund Gates’ pet projects like the F-35, MRAP vehicles, drones, and, of course, the useless wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Enabling Obama’s unilateral disarmament of the US

As Defense Secretary, Gates has greatly helped Obama gut the US military – and not just through the program killings listed above, but also through his advocacy of arms control agreements that obligate only the US to disarm itself.

Gates supported the treasonous New START treaty, which obligates the US (but not Russia) to cut its deployed strategic nuclear arsenal to just 1,550 warheads and 700 deployed delivery systems – and Obama envisions even more cuts, down to just 1,000 warheads. That will necessitate, among other things, cutting at least 30 ICBMs. Gates lied to the Congress that the treaty would’ve allowed the US to maintain a sufficient nuclear arsenal and, ridiculously, claimed it would “protect” US nuclear modernization programs, which it actually threatens. He and Hillary Clinton also lied to the Congress that the treaty does not constrain US missile defenses, which it actually does.

Gates also supported the Law of the Sea Treaty, which the Reagan Administration rightly rejected and which would’ve cost America its sovereignty, subordinating it to the corrupt UN and its kangaroo maritime dispute courts, and would’ve cost US taxpayers billions of dollars in new contributions to the wasteful, corrupt UN.

Final verdict: an Obama yes-boy and a traitor

Therefore, based on the above facts about Gates’ tenure as SECDEF, an honest person cannot assess him as anything else as an Obama yes-boy, a traitor, and an utter failure as Defense Secretary. No honest person, and especially no Republican, should give him credit for anything – he does not deserve it. Gates deserves, in fact, to be tried, convicted, and executed as a traitor.

CNS and Cirincione are lying; America needs a LARGE nuclear deterrent

nukeexplosion

The leftist, California-based “Center for Nonproliferation Studies” and the also leftist, Democrat-run CBO have recently released rigged “studies” claiming that nuclear weapons modernization and maintenance will cost the US $355 bn over the next decade and$1 trillion over the next 30 years.

These figures are wildly exaggerated and not based on any accurate statistics, and their purpose, of course, is to propagandize and mislead the public and the Congress into foregoing the US nuclear deterrent’s modernization – thus allowing it to decay and rust out due to old age. In other words, these leftists want to disarm the US through nonmodernization and nonreplacement of its nuclear deterrent – by simply allowing it to decay without refit or replacement.

Ploughshares Fund president Joe Cirincione, a radical anti-nuke leftist activist whom Frank Gaffney has often humiliated on TV, goes even further and demands deep cuts to America’s nuclear deterrent right now. He falsely claims that the deterrent is still configured to prevent a massive nuclear attack by Russia and not to counter 21st century challenges. He falsely claims further that “configuring” the nuclear arsenal to counter “21st century threats” would permit radical, deep cuts in that arsenal.

All of these are blatant lies. I’ll show you why. I’ll start with why the US needs to maintain a large nuclear arsenal and modernize all of its legs.

So why exactly?

Because the 21st century threat environment – the very environment Cirincione claims to be concerned about – requires a large, modern US nuclear arsenal.

The biggest threats to US security by far are Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran (in that order). Nothing else comes even close to posing as much a security threat as these four hostile dictatorships. Specifically, it is their military buildups, and particularly their nuclear programs, that pose the biggest threat to US, allied, and world security.

Russia and China both have large nuclear arsenals. Moscow has 2,800 strategic nuclear warheads (according to the Federation of American Scientists), of which 1,500 are deployed and 50 further will be soon, and around 4,000 tactical nuclear warheads (many of which can be delivered against the US). To deliver them, Russia has over 410 ICBMs, 13 ballistic missile submarines, 251 strategic bombers, and around 20 attack submarines capable of carrying nuclear cruise missiles anywhere in the world. To deliver its tactical warheads, Russia has those attack submarines plus short-range ballistic missiles, attack aircraft, surface warships, artillery pieces, and IRBMs such as the Yars-M.

China has at least 1,600, and up to 3,000, nuclear warheads, according to former Russian missile force chief Gen. Viktor Yesin and Georgetown Professor Philip Karber (who was the DOD’s chief nuclear strategist under President Reagan). To deliver them, Beijing wields 75-87 ICBMs (and is adding more every year), 120-160 strategic bombers, 6 ballistic missile subs, over 120 MRBMs, over 1,200 SRBMs, and 280 tactical strike aircraft. Note that China, like Russia, is adding more nuclear weapons and delivery systems every year.

Both Moscow and Beijing are now growing and rapidly modernizing their nuclear triads: they are developing, producing, and deploying next-generation ICBMs, ballistic missile subs, and bombers. Both of them are now developing stealthy intercontinental bombers capable of hitting the US, as well as rail-mobile ICBMs.

To cut the US nuclear arsenal any further, let alone deeply, in the face of these aggressive Russian and Chinese nuclear buildup aimed exclusively at the US and its allies, would be utterly suicidal and indeed treasonous. It would openly invite a Russian or Chinese nuclear first strike on the US.

That’s because, in order to be survivable and credible, a nuclear arsenal MUST be large – no smaller than the enemy’s. Otherwise, it will be very easy for the enemy to destroy in a preemptive first strike, and even without one, it will be too small to hold most of the enemy’s military and economic assets at risk.

Moscow and Beijing not only have large nuclear arsenals, they’re quite willing to use them. In fact, in the last 7 years, Russia has threatened to aim or use nuclear weapons against the US or its allies on 16 separate occassions, and in the last 2 years has flown nuclear-armed bombers into or close to US and allied airspace. In May 2012, when its bombers overtly practiced a nuclear strike on Alaska, the Russian Air Force said to the press it was “practicing attacking the enemy.”

Not only that, but in its military doctrine Russia openly claims a right to use nuclear weapons first – even if the opponent does not have any nuclear weapons!

Moreover, the US now has to deter not only Russia and China, but North Korea and Iran as well.

On top of that, the US has to provide a credible nuclear deterrent not only to itself, but to over 30 allies around the world: all NATO members, Israel, Gulf countries, and Pacific allies such as the Philippines, Japan, and South Korea. These allies are watching the state of the US nuclear arsenal closely and will develop their own if the US cuts its umbrella further. Thus making the problem of proliferation – which the CNS and Ploughshares falsely pretend to be concerned about – that much worse.

The truth is that the need for a large nuclear deterrent, and the nuclear triad, has never been greater. America needs them now more than ever. In this 21st century threat environment marked by three (soon to be four) hostile nuclear powers, two of them with large nuclear arsenals, it would be utterly suicidal and foolish to cut the US nuclear arsenal further, let alone deeply so.

OK, but what about the cost?

The cost isn’t – and will not be – nearly as high as the CNS and the CBO falsely claim. It will amount to roughly $200 bn per decade according to the DOD and the Air Force Global Strike Command.

But even if one accepts the CBO’s exaggerated figure of $355 bn per decade, that still amounts to only $35.5 bn per year, out of a total military budget of $607 bn in FY2014. That is a paltry 5.8% of the military budget.

Anyone who claims that America cannot afford to invest 35.5 bn per year – a meager 5.8% of its military budget – in modernizing its nuclear deterrent (its most valuable shield against aggression) – is an idiot or a deceitful, lying bastard.

In fact, even the leftist Center for Nonproliferation Studies admits in its “study” that even at the peak of US nuclear modernization efforts, the US will devote only 3% of its military budget to nuclear modernization. Which means 97% will be spent on non-nuclear programs. And that’s during the peak years of nuclear modernization efforts. The CNS says such proportions would be similar to those seen under Ronald Reagan in the 1980s – the last time the US modernized its nuclear deterrent.

(Indeed, if the cost of nuclear modernization seems great, it is precisely because of the many decades of nonmodernization, neglect, precipitous cuts, and underfunding of the US nuclear arsenal. These many decades of neglect have consequences, and the bill for these three decades of negligence has now arrived.)

Furthermore, the CNS itself admits that the US spends only 8 billion dollars per year maintaining its nuclear triad. This is consistent with USAF figures, according to which ICBMs cost only $1.1 bn, and bombers only $2.5 bn, per year to maintain.

But the CNS and other leftist organizations – such as the ACA and the CLW – still have the nerve to claim that nuclear modernization, and in particular Ohio class submarine replacement, “threatens to jeopardize the rest of the fleet.” This is a blatant lie, considering that by their own admission nuclear modernization, even at peak years, will consume only 3-6% of the total military budget.

The fact is that America’s nuclear weapons budget and modernization programme is, and will certainly remain, way too small to threaten any conventional programs.

On the contrary, it is conventional weapon programs’ escalating costs that are threatening nuclear modernization. For example, the Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford, will cost $12.8 bn by the time it’s completed, and the next carrier, the Kennedy, will cost $10.8 bn. The tri-service F-35 Junk Strike Fighter program will cost an astounding $391 bn to develop and procure!

The Navy could save itself a lot of money, and be able to buy lots of different ships (including new SSBNs) if it ended its obsession with hyperexpensive and vulnerable aircraft carriers, cut its carrier fleet, invested more in submarines, and dramatically cut its internal bureaucracy – ESPECIALLY at Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), which procures ships.

The fact is that the US nuclear modernization program is perfectly affordable, cheap, and absolutely necessary in light of the nuclear threats posed by Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran. Therefore, the claims of the CNS, the ACA, the CLW, Ploughshares, and other leftist, anti-nuclear organizations are utterly false, as always.

Neal Boortz is right: “social conservatives” will cost the GOP more elections

republican logo

In a recent talk radio show, while filling in for Sean Hannity, conservative-libertarian Neal Boortz (the co-author of the FairTax) warned that Republicans will not recapture the Senate this year, because, says Boortz, they have an insatiable “urge to get into social conservatism”.

Boortz believes Republicans will once again prioritize social issues above all others, advocate radical no-compromise policies on those issues, and once again make stupid statements on these issues. He points to Georgia GOP Senate candidate Paul Broun as an example. (Broun’s most famous statement, other than his defense of Todd Akin, is his claim that evolution, embryonics, and Big Bang are “lies straight from the pit of hell.”)

Shortly after Boortz made that statement, an avalanche of insults, attacks, and false claims was launched against Boortz from every “conservative” corner of the Net. His critics, and they are legion, claim Boortz is an “establishment liberal Republican” and a “blowhard” just trying to attract attention. They furthermore deny that social issues and radical socially conservative politicians like Akin and Broun have hurt the GOP in the past.

But no amount of denial and false claims can change the fact that Boortz is absolutely right: radical policies on social issues, and politicians espousing such policies, have cost the GOP heavily in the past, and will cost it even more elections in the future.

Why? After all, didn’t social issues mobilize millions of voters in the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s to the GOP’s standard? Weren’t American voters overwhelmingly socially conservative in those times?

Yes – but those were totally different times, decades ago. To advocate returning to policies of long bygone eras enacted (or advocated) in a totally different society is to lead the Party to disastrous defeats.

Today, Americans are a completely different society than they were 20-30 years ago. The GOP’s problem is that it hasn’t changed with them.

17  ago, a vast majority of Americans opposed gay marriage and the federal Defense of Marriage Act was passed with over 80 votes in the Senate and signed by President Clinton. Today, though, according to reliable pollsters like Gallup, a large majority of Americans approves of legalizing gay marriage and of DADT repeal. Banning gay marriage and gays from the military is a decidedly losing proposition supported only by a small minority.  Over time,  this small minority will shrink even further as older, more socially conservative voters die and are replaced by younger, socially libertarian voters.

As for contraception, support for its legality is – and has long been – so broad that most pollsters don’t even bother to ask the question.

On abortion, Americans are roughly equally divided, with the pendulum slightly swinging one way or the other from time to time. However, only a small majority supports banning abortion in all or most cases (per Gallup). So radical social conservatives’ position is again that of a tiny minority and a sure election loser.

The fact is that social issues are electoral losers for Republicans. The American people don’t want politicians to legislate morality anymore than they want them to legislate prosperity (neither of which can be really legislated, BTW – but that hasn’t stopped politicians from trying :) ).

The truth, therefore, is that – as Boortz says – Republicans will continue to lose elections by landslides if they continue to take radical positions on social issues. Or nominate radically socially conservative candidates like Paul Broun.

This truth has proven itself over and over again, even in “red states” like Missouri and Indiana where Republicans should win easily. All it took for GOP Senate candidates to lose there by landslides was a radical position on abortion and one stupid remark about rape. Not only did Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock lose their races, they cost other Republicans (like Scott Brown) their races as well.

This is because the voters Republicans need to win over – siphon from the Democrats, to be precise – are suburbanites, most of whom are fiscally conservative but socially liberal (especially suburban women, and American women in general, who currently support Democrats by a large margin). Saying that abortion should be banned in all cases, that a raped woman should be forced by law to bear the child of her rapist, and that two loving people shouldn’t be allowed to marry based on sexual orientation, is an electoral loser with suburbanites, women, minorities, and youngsters.

Boortz’s critics claim this is just a call to make the GOP more liberal, more leftist, and more in line with the GOP Establishment.

On the contrary, if fiscal and defense, rather than social, issues were the conservative “litmus test”, the vast majority of the GOP’s Establishment and its past candidates (including Daddy Bush, Bob Dole, Dubya Bush, and Juan McCain) would’ve had no business being in the GOP, let alone being GOP presidential nominees. Nor would John Boehner have been Speaker.

It is social conservatives who have enabled these RINOs to hijack the party and the country. All these RINOs had to do to win social conservatives’ votes was to promise to work towards banning abortion and gay marriage, and social conservatives supported them, regardless of their lack of fiscal conservative credentials (to say it mildly). So-cons didn’t care that Daddy Bush denounced Reaganomics as “voodoo economics”, or that Dubya was a failed businessman. All they cared about were these RINOs’ useless promises on social issues. As long as the Bushes, McCain, Dole, and Boehner pledged to fight against abortion and gay marriage, social conservatives were willing to overlook everything else.

On social issues, the Bushes, McCain, and Boehner have solid records.

But if fiscal and defense, rather than social, issues were the conservative “litmus test”, those RINOs would’ve had no business being in the GOP. Ditto Eric Cantor, Rick Santorum, and Tax Hike Mike Huckabee.

Social conservatives protest that “social and fiscal issues are inextricably linked.” No, they are not.

In fact, trying to impose one’s preferred policies on social issues on the rest of the society is every bit as much a Big Government statist policy as trying to impose a health insurance mandate, a new tax, a soda ban, or a lightbulb ban. So-called “social conservatives” are every bit as much Big Government Statists as Michael Bloomberg, Bill de Blasio, and Nancy Pelosi. They only difference is what exactly their pet issues are. For “social conservatives”, it’s abortion, gay marriage, and contraceptives. For Bloomberg, de Blasio, and Pelosi, it’s lightbulbs, SUVs, soda, and fast food.

But these people are all the same: all of them want to take away YOUR right to do what you want with YOUR money, YOUR vehicle, YOUR stomach, YOUR body, and YOUR home.

As any real conservative will tell you, the ONLY legitimate purpose of any government is to protect our rights and our liberty against those who would take them away, whether that’s you, my neighbor, a religious group in my town, or the majority of the society at large. The only legitimate purpose of any government is to protect our rights and freedoms – and to let us live as we wish to, as long as we don’t threaten anyone else’s rights and freedoms.

Whenever a government goes beyond that purpose, it becomes Big Government – and a danger to people’s rights and freedoms, regardless of whether it tries to legislate morality or prosperity. (And Americans don’t want it to legislate either.)

Therein lies the problem with the two major parties: both want to take your freedoms away. The Democrats want to legislate the economy, while Republicans want to legislate morality. The Democrats want to dramatically limit what you can do with your money, while Republicans want to dramatically limit what you can do with your body. For the last four decades, both parties have tried to do that and look just how dramatically the size and scope of the federal government has expanded.

It is NONE of any government’s business to legislate whether you or I can use contraceptives, whom I can marry, and whether or not a raped woman can seek an abortion. It is NONE of any local, state, or government’s business – and NONE of YOUR damned business, social conservatives.

And just think about it: if abortion, gay marriage, and/or contraceptives were banned, that would require yet another government agency (or agencies), costing billions of dollars annually and employing tens of thousands of bureaucrats and agents, to enforce such bans. You think the IRS is bad and oppressive? Or that the NSA is? Just imagine what a National Abortion Police or a National Counter-Contraceptives Agency would do if social conservatives got their wish.

As for funding for abortion, the fiscally conservative answer is simple: end it.

Finally, social conservatives claim there is a “moral decay in America”, and that fiscal issues cannot be solved without tackling these problems.

To some extent this is true when you look at divorce, single motherhood, alcoholism, and drug usage rates. But instead of targeting these very real and very serious problems and formulating positive solutions to them, “social conservatives” have, in the last 4 decades, railed exclusively against abortion, gay marriage, contraceptives, and DADT, and still continue to obsess about them, even though they are all lost issues.

So few Americans support banning gay marriage and contraceptives, or reinstating DADT, that these issues are, politically, irrevocably lost. As for abortion, it is legally lost because no Supreme Court, especially not one led by John G. Roberts, will overturn Roe v. Wade. If “social conservatives”  couldn’t get Roe overturned in the last 4 decades, they never will.

In fact, abortion, gay marriage, contraceptives, and repealing DADT have not done any damage to America’s prosperity or well-being. Contraceptives have, in fact, helped stem the plague of STDs and unwanted pregnancies (they are highly effective at fighting both). Repealing DADT has saved taxpayers millions of dollars lost on discharging qualified, disciplined men who happened to be gay (and has not caused any turmoil in the military, contrary to grave predictions made in 2010).

Similarly, legalizing gay marriage has not done any harm to anyone. It has only increased people’s freedom by letting them marry whatever person they love. (A few decades ago, when bans on interracial marriage were being repealed, Southern “social conservatives” were saying exactly the same thing they clam today: that repealing the bans would threaten “the integrity of the institution of marriage.”)

If “social conservatives” were really concerned about America’s societal ills, like divorce and single motherhood, they’d be tackling them. But they don’t want to challenge the powerful divorce attorney lobby; instead, they prefer irrelevant issues like “gay marriage” and “contraceptives.”

Gay marriage is not a threat to anyone’s marriage, or to the integrity of the institution, in any way. Divorce – particularly no-fault divorce, now legal in all 50 states, is.

(BTW, know who was the first state Governor to sign legislation legalizing no-fault divorce in his state? Ronald Reagan.)

So Neal Boortz is absolutely right, and so.-called “social conservatives” (I prefer to call them social Big Government Nannies) are dead wrong. “Social issues” like abortion and gay marriage are sure election losers; they alienate suburbanites, youngsters, women, and minorities from the GOP; and advocating bans and legislating morality on these issues is every bit as much a Big Government Policy as banning sodas or SUVs is.

The FY2014 NDAA: setting the record straight

naval_aviation

A few days ago, the Senate passed, by an 85-15 margin, the FY2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the bill making policies for the US military on the whole range of military affairs, from sexual assault and military justice to equipment and foreign basing. As is the case every year, this one’s NDAA has been the subject of many lies, so I will refute some of them to set the record straight. I will also tell you what the good and bad news is, as far as the bill’s provisions go.

The bill authorizes, in total, $607 bn for the DOD and the DOE, that is, 3.97% of GDP. Less than four percent of America’s GDP and less than seventeen percent of the total federal budget. Yet, those facts have not stopped extremely leftist anti-defense hack William Hartung of the Soros-funded “Center for International Policy” from lying blatantly that this bill supposedly proves that “defense hawks live in their own alternate reality, with no fiscal constraints.”

But then again, no facts have ever stopped Hartung from lying blatantly on any issue, so it’s not surprising. In any case, it is utterly idiotic and ridiculous to claim that a bill authorizing the expenditure of less than 4% of the nation’s GDP and less than 17% of its federal budget – and much less money than was authorized just 2 years ago – is one unconstrained by fiscal realities or that its craftors “live in their own alternative reality.” The one who lives in his own alternative world is Hartung.

The Soros-funded anti-defense hack makes such claims on the grounds that the bill is $30 bn above the sequester’s defense spending caps. But the sequester’s caps were always woefully too low to begin with, requiring defense spending cuts that – as has been proven by all non-leftist entities and analysts – will gut the US military if not repealed soon. The sequester should’ve never been created in the first place, plain and simple.

TCS President Ryan Alexander, for her part, falsely claims that the bill allegedly continues to authorize gargantuan amounts of money on weapons procurement spending, when it only authorizes $98 bn (less than one sixth of the total) for that purpose. $98 bn is a paltry amount, especially considering the DOD’s vast personnel and O&M costs.

In addition, Alexander objects to any expenditure on the F-35, the LCS, and the Abrams tank.

The F-35 is a deeply flawed airplane and the LCS a deeply flawed warship, that much is true. But they are the only strike jets and small surface combatants, respectively, currently being developed or procured by the USAF and USN, respectively. These services have absolutely no alternatives at all… unless they resume F-22, F-15, and Oliver Hazard Perry class frigate production, respectively. Which they do not intend to.

As for the Abrams tank, Alexander claims the DOD didn’t want the additional tanks and objects to any money being spent on them. But after over 12 years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, many Abrams tanks have been worn out or damaged, some beyond economical repair. Moreover, the Abrams production line needs to be kept open to maintain crucial industrial capacity and skills – which will be lost of it is closed before Ground Combat Vehicle production begins in 2017 (as the Army foolishly wants to do). The skilled workers who produce and maintain the Abrams tank will leave the defense sector and find high-paying jobs elsewhere – and they won’t come back in 2017 – if the line is closed before then. So a skilled workforce would be lost forever.

Independent research has shown that keeping the Abrams production line open before GCV production begins would actually cost taxpayers LESS in the long term than closing it prematurely. If Alexander were TRULY concerned about taxpayers’ money, she’d be campaigning for keeping the line open.

By the way, we often hear claims that weapon systems should be terminated because “the Pentagon doesn’t want them.” In fact, in 99% of all cases, this is just a pathetic excuse by the opponents of a strong defense – the unilateral disarmament lobby – to kill crucial weapon systems they don’t like when a leftist, anti-defense administration (like the current one) is in power.

In any case, their argument is completely indefensible and irrelevant, because what the Pentagon wants is of little relevance. Why? Because the Constitution says so.

The Constitution assigns the SOLE responsibility for maintaining, equipping, clothing, feeding, paying, compensating, and caring for the military to the CONGRESS, not to the DOD, the generals, the individual services, or the President. It is solely the responsibility of the Congress. The military’s uniformed leaders may, and should, provide their expert advice. They, the DOD as a whole, and the President, may PROPOSE measures they deem necessary or beneficial. But it is the sole prerogative (and duty) of the CONGRESS to make those decisions. See Article I, Sec. 8 of the Constitution:

“The Congress shall have power… to raise and support Armies; but no appropriation of money for that purpose shall be for a term longer than two years;

… to provide and maintain a Navy…”

Similar provisions exist in Art. I, Sec. 8 WRT providing and maintaining military bases, having jurisdiction over them, providing for a military justice system, and maintaining and equipping the militia.

Nowhere in the Constitution is any such responsibility assigned to the Executive Branch.

I repeat: decisions on what the US military should be equipped with and what should it procure are to be made solely by the Congress, NOT the Executive Branch. And the DOD doesn’t have a monopoly on being right on those issues.

Consider that, for example, the Senate (specifically, Sen. Sam Nunn of Georgia) forced the Air Force to buy more F-117s than it wanted, and Congress also ordered the military to arm its Predator drones (which were initially completely unarmed). Those decisions proved, in 20/20 hindsight, to be 100% correct.

The old “weapons the Pentagon doesn’t want/didn’t ask for” meme is a mere excuse used frequently by anti-defense organizations – such as TCS and POGO – to argue against crucial weapon systems the military does need but which the Pentagon – under political orders from the President, who controls it – has not requested. (Remember: the DOD is an agency controlled exclusively by the President. DOD leaders, military and civilian, tell Congress only what the President allows and orders them to say, and are forbidden to say anything contrarian to the President’s line.)

Now, WRT specifics, what are the good and bad provisions of the NDAA?

First, the good news:

1) The overall amount of funding is adequate ($607 bn), yet still very modest in proportion to America’s GDP (3.97%) and the total federal budget (less than one sixth, i.e. less than 20%). The NDAA, if the levels of funding it authorizes are actually appropriated, will restore funding for readiness, including flight hours, tank miles, and ship steaming days. Whether that funding is actually appropriated, though, is doubtful – even under the new budget deal passed recently by Congress, it will not be.

2) It authorizes $9.5 bn for missile defense programs, ranging from new radars to studies on East Coast Missile Defense to cooperation with Israel. It also prohibits Obama from transferring sensitive missile defense tech to Russia and from allowing Russia to set up radar, satnav, and targeting centers in the US (!).

3) It restricts, though not completely eliminates, Obama’s ability to implement the treasonous New START treaty and to eliminate ICBM squadrons.

4) It fully funds the Long Range Strike Bomber, Virginia class, X-47 UCLASS, and cybersecurity programs crucial to countering A2/AD threats.

5) It continues to prohibit Obama from transferring Gitmo detainees to the US.

6) It authorizes some funding for the hardening of base infrastructure at Guam (though it isn’t clear how much and for what infrastructure).

Now, the bad news:

1) This is only an authorization bill, not a budget or appropriations bill. So the actual amounts of money the DOD will be allowed to spend will be determined by the Budget Control Act and the recent Ryan-Murray deal, not by the NDAA. Which means the DOD will have a lot less to spend than the NDAA allows.

2) The NDAA prohibits many crucial personnel cost reforms, including badly needed reforms to the military’s unaffordable health programs like TRICARE – the premiums for which are tens of times lower than for civilian federal workers or for private sector workers, and which covers “children” up to the age of 26. Without these  crucial reforms, personnel cost will consume all of the military budget by FY2039.

3) It prohibits the DOD from even requesting or planning for, let alone conducting, a new base closure round – even though the DOD has many more bases and much more space than it needs.

4) It doesn’t completely prohibit Obama from implementing New START or cutting the US nuke arsenal further.

5) It doesn’t authorize money for the actual construction of an East Coast missile defense site – thus continuing to leave the EC unprotected against ballistic missiles.

6) It does not authorize the Navy to reduce its carrier fleet, even though aircraft carriers are relics of the past and terribly vulnerable while being grotesquely expensive (America’s next aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford, will cost $12.8 bn when completed). Indeed, it legitimizes the Navy’s continuing obsession with hyper-expensive and tragically vulnerable aircraft carriers and neglect of the submarine fleet, surface combatants, an ASW and demining platforms and skills.

7) It does nothing to increase the procurement of crucial ASW assets like P-8 Poseidon planes and sonars, or to reinstate the S-3 Viking ASW a/c into service, nor to add minesweeping assets to the Navy, nor to develop reliable anti-cruise missile defense systems.

8) It does not fund the MEADS program, even though the recently successfully-tested MEADS is far, far more capable than Patriot can or ever will be, even with expensive upgrades.

All in all, it’s not a bad bill, but it’s not a good bill, either. Basically, Congress needs to develop its own cadre of defense analysts and assert its Constitutional powers in writing America’s defense policy much more forcefully.

Rebuttal of Robert Burns’ blatant lies about ICBMs

nukeexplosion

The leftist Associated Press has recently published (and the military.com foolishly republished) yet  another litany of blatant lies about nuclear weapons by its resident anti-nuclear and anti-defense hack, Robert Burns, whose previous leftist screeds on this issue have already been refuted several times here and once even by the US Air Force.

Burns, like AP itself and the Left in general, aims to mislead the public into believing that nuclear weapons are obsolete and useless, overly expensive, and a Cold War relic, and that Barack Obama will succeed in creating a “nuclear-free world.”

In his latest screet, Burns falsely claims that:

1) America’s ICBM fleet in particular and nuclear weapons in general are useless against the threats of the 21st century, which he claims are “terrorism”, “cyberattacks”, and nuclear proliferation to North Korea and Iran.

2) Nuclear weapons are too expensive as their maintenance & modernization will cost $132 bn over the next decade.

3) There is a “clear trend” of the US doing away with nuclear weapons, including ICBMs, and Obama has laid out a “clear vision” of a world without nuclear weapons.

4) In his latest research paper on the US nuclear triad, Evan B. Montgomery of the CSBA has questioned the ICBM fleet’s usefulness.

5) There is also a true claim in his screed: that America’s ICBM fleet is old, aging out of service, in decline, and service with it is not even appreciated, let alone prestigeous.

Let’s deal with each of his claims in turn.

Ad. 1. Contrary to Burns’ and other anti-nuclear hacks’ lies, nuclear weapons are, and will be, ABSOLUTELY CRUCIAL to confronting the biggest security threats of the 21st century. That’s because the four biggest threats to America’s and allies’ security, and indeed the worlds, are (and will continue to be) Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran – four state actors. The two biggest threats to US, allied, and global security by far are Russia and China – hands down. There are plenty of security threats out there, but none of them come even close to being as grave as Moscow and Beijing – two authoritarian, expansionist, increasingly aggressive and nationalist, and militarist regimes. Just recently, for example, Moscow deployed nuclear-armed ballistic missiles in Kaliningrad, on Poland’s border, while China created an illegitimate ADIZ in the Western Pacific and created a standoff with the US Navy.

B0th Russia and China have large nuclear arsenals – Russia has between 6,800 and 8,800 nuclear weapons (including 2,800 strategic warheads, deployed and nondeployed), and China has between 1,600 and 3,000 (according to General Viktor Yesin and Professor Philip Karber, respectively). Both of them are growing and modernizing, not cutting, their nuclear arsenals.

Russia is now developing or deploying several new multi-warhead ICBM types: the Yars, the Rubezh, the Sarmat (AKA Son of Satan), the Avangard, and a pseudo-ICBM with a notional 6,000 km range. It has also ordered over 200 new SLBMs for its Navy’s ballistic missile subs and is developing a new nuclear-capable bomber.

China is now producing and deploying two new ICBM types, the DF-31A and the DF-41, as well as two new MRBM types (the DF-21 and DF-25), a new SLBM type (the JL-2, with a range of at least 8,000 kms), two new SSBN classes, and is developing an intercontinental nuclear-capable bomber.

Against these adversaries, only nuclear weapons can provide credible deterrence. No amount of conventional weapons and missile defenses (and Barack Obama is cutting both) can substitute for them.

ICBMs, in particular, are very useful as they are by far the most ready (a 99% readiness rate), most responsible, cheapest (annual cost to maintain: $1.1 bn), and a very survivable leg of the nuclear triad (they sit in hardened siloes and a dispersed and many in number, so destroying all of them on the ground would require at least 900 warheads – something only Russia can currently do).

As for North Korea and Iran, one of them is a nuclear power (and a very aggressive one at that, as it proved earlier this year), and the other is well on its way to becoming one. Again, versus such adversaries, ONLY nuclear weapons can provide credible deterrence: conventional weapons and missile defenses never can. Period. So the US now has to deter three (soon to be four) nuclear-armed adversaries, whereas in the Cold War, it had to deter only the Soviet Union. Additionally, the US now has to provide a nuclear umbrella not only to itself and 11 Western European allies, but to over 30 allies who depend on it for their security and survival – many of whom ill acquire their own nuclear weapons if the US nuclear arsenal is cut further.

The truth is that the need for US nuclear weapons – and ICBMs – has never been greater. They are needed and relevant now more than ever. And USAF missileers’ service is important, and deserves appreciation, now more than ever.

Ad. 2. No, nuclear weapons are not too expensive, Quite the contrary; they are cheap. The $132 bn figure that Burns quotes, which comes from the CBO, is a decennial figure, meaning it is spread over a decade. It refers to the cost of maintaining the nuclear triad over a decade. Per one year, this works out to only $13.2 bn – less than 3% of the total military budget and a fraction of the total federal budget (not to mention the economy).

Ad. 3. Obama has not laid out a “vision” of a world without nuclear weapons – only his utterly unrealistic, unachievable, childish fantasy of such a world – which will never exist unless even more powerful weapons are invented. The only country he can verifiably disarm is America itself. Nobody else is disarming themselves – not Russia, China, North Korea, Pakistan, India, Israel, France, or Britain. All of them are modernizing and/or growing (all but France and Britain) their nuclear arsenals. Moreover, Iran and Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest Shia and Sunni Muslim power, respectively, are racing towards the nuclear club. According to the BBC, Saudi Arabia has ordered nuclear weapons in Pakistan.

So only the US, under Barack Obama, is and has been disarming itself – and it’s a foolish, utterly suicidal policy that should be immediately scrapped, not continued.

Ad. 4. Montgomery (a nuclear affairs analyst with the CSBA) has NEVER questioned the utility of America’s ICBMs. Not in his Dec. 5th report. Not ever. Burns is completely misrepresenting what Montgomery wrote.

What the CSBA analyst DID write (and I’ve read his entire report from the beginning to the end; I even have a copy on my Android) was that many people (ignorant people, I might add) are questioning ICBMs’ utility and survivability – but Montgomery is not. In fact, he praises ICBMs for their low cost, their ability to absorb even large-scale nuclear strikes (because America has 450 of them), and their very high (ca. 99%) readiness rate and thus responsiveness in case of any WMD strike on America or its allies.

In fact, in his report, Montgomery (rightly) advocates retaining, modernizing, and replacing ALL three legs of the nuclear triad, including the ICBM fleet.

As a professional liar, Burns has been caught blatantly lying once again – this time, totally misrepresenting what someone else has said.

Ad. 5. The claim that USAF missileers are frustrated and feel unappreciated, and that their occupational specialty is no longer prestigeous, is actually true – and the only true claim in Burns’s article.

But this is wrong. It is wrong and unjust that missileers are treated this way, that they are unappreciated and ignored as if their service didn’t matter. For, as I demonstrated above, their service and their “tools of trade” are more important now than ever before. There hasn’t been a time since the Cuban Missile Crisis when their service could be more crucial to America’s, its allies’, and the world’s security. They, together with Airmen operating the strategic bomber fleet and sailors operating the SSBN fleet, are the free world’s ONLY deterrent against nuclear, chemical, ballistic missile, or large-scale conventional attack; effectively, the free world’s only meaningful deterrent against aggression and coercion. Everyday, they keep the free world safe from two major nuclear adversaries – Russia and China – as well as North Korea and Iran. Their mission – nuclear deterrence – is more important now than ever.

Shame on Burns for lying so blatantly yet again, and shame on the Associated Press for publishing, and on military.com for republishing, his litany of blatant lies.

Rebuttal of China deniers’ understatement of China’s nuke capabilities

nukeexplosion

Even as China becomes an ever greater military threat to America, the pro-disarmament lobby in the US is still stubbornly denying that threat. The pro-disarmament lobby does so in order to lull American policymakers and voters into a false sense of security. The goal of this induce them to agree to dramatically and unilaterally cut America’s military power, especially its nuclear deterrent, which the Left outright hates.

Thus, it is not surprising that the Left continues to vastly understate China’s nuclear arsenal’s size and capabilities. Recently, the Left has been desperately denying the threat posed by China’s Jin class of ballistic missile submarines, which have given China a credible sea-based nuclear deterrent capable of striking the CONUS. Most recently, Christian Conroy and Hans Kristensen (a lifelong Danish pacifist who has spent his entire adult lifetime advocating the West’s unilateral disarmament) have denied that the Jin class gives China a credible sea-based deterrent.

Their denials are utterly wrong and are based on several utterly false claims they make. Specifically, China threat deniers falsely claim that:

1) The Jin class is too noisy to be survivable;

2) Its ballistic missile, the Julang-2 (JL-2), doesn’t have sufficient range to hit the CONUS;

3) China’s Central Military Commission has not delegated command-and-control authority over nuclear weapons to the PLA Navy nor authorized loading nuclear weapons on its submarines;

4) China has only three Jin class submarines.

 

Let’s refute each of these claims in turn.

1) The Jin class is NOT too noisy and IS survivable. Data on Chinese submarine noise from the Office of Naval Intelligence or other parts of the DOD has to be treated very skeptically, because the ONI is little more than a propaganda department which has, throughout many decades, routinely overestimated America’s military capabilities and understating those of her adversaries. It excelled in that during WW2.

Most importantly, the USN’s anti-sub warfare capabilities have atrophied so badly during the last few decades that even very noisy and obsolete subs can evade detection by the USN, especially if captained by competent, intelligent skippers.

America’s ASW capabilities today are in shambles, to say it very politely. To say it brutally, they’re almost extinct. The US has not seriously practiced, or devoted any significant resources, to ASW since the CW’s end. The S-3 Viking, a dedicated carrier-borne ASW a/c, has been retired. The Navy’s P-3 Orions are now being used as overland ISR aircraft. P-8 Poseidon production is slow and threatened by sequestration.

But even during the Cold War, when US ASW capabilities were far better than they were today, they were still woefully inadequate – so much so that even obsolete allied and Soviet submarines had no problems sneaking up on, and scoring goals against, USN surface ships and subs – including, yes, the Navy’s much vaunted and supposedly undetectable Ohio class boomers.

To give but one example: in 1981, during routine NATO exercises in the North Atlantic, a Canadian 1960s-vintage diesel submarine sneaked undetected under US ships and “sunk” not one, but TWO American aircraft carriers and took photos of them. The USN didn’t even know what hit them until a Canadian submariner leaked the story to the Canadian press. This was at a time when the Canadian military was dramatically underfunded and Ottawa had arguably the most anti-military government in its history. And in 1985, an obsolete Soviet submarine successfully sneaked upon USN SSBNs several times, again without the USN knowing the adversary was even there.

These days, allied submarines – even obsolete ones – ROUTINELY beat the US Navy and “sink” its much-vaunted carriers and submarines in exercises. It has happened more often than I can be bothered to count, but Professor Roger Thompson has listed some of these occassions here:

http://pl.scribd.com/doc/18023250/Is-the-USN-Obsolete

The USN is so crappy at ASW that even an idiot could sneak a submarine upon its ships and sink at least one of them. Intelligent submarine skippers, such as those of the PLAN, could compensate for the Jin class’s noise by using ocean current temperature changes, for example.

In fact, using the Jin class is a win-win situation for China. If they stay in the noisy waters of the Yellow Sea or the South China Sea, it would be very difficult to find them. If they sail into the open Pacific, it would be even more difficult to detect them as one would have to scan the entire, vast Pacific – the largest ocean in the world – for their subs.

2) The JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missile DOES have sufficient range to hit the CONUS (though not yet from Chinese territorial waters). While Kristensen and Conroy falsely claim that the JL-2 only has a 7,200-7,400 km range, it actually has a range of at least 8,000, and probably more, kilometers.

GlobalSecurity.org, arguably the most credible military information website on the Internet, says that the JL-2’s range is at least 8,000, and may be up to 9,000, kms:

http://www.globalsecurity.org/wmd/world/china/jl-2.htm

Quote from the GS article:

“Most reports agree that the JL-2 will ahve a range of about 8,000 km, while some reports suggest that the missile will have an estimated range at least 9,000 kilometers.”

The DOD itself was saying, as recently as 2008, that the JL-2 had a range of 8,000 kms, not 7,200 or 7,400, and in that year’s report on China’s military, the DOD included this nice map showing the JL-2’s range to be sufficient to strike the entire Pacific Northwest of the US:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/da/PLA_ballistic_missiles_range.jpg/300px-PLA_ballistic_missiles_range.jpg

PLA_ballistic_missiles_range

So why the downgrade now? In all likelihood, due to the pressure of the Chinese (pro-appeasement) lobby inside and outside the US government, which doesn’t want the American public to know the real magnitude of the Chinese military threat and doesn’t want anyone to interfere with their kowtowing to China. Bill Gertz has already documented how the CIA, the DIA, the DOD at large, and other agencies have, for years if not decades, dramatically understated the Chinese military threat.

But even the Air Force’s NASIC intelligence center, while understating the JL-2’s range, admits that this missile, coupled with the Jin class, will allow China to “target portions of the United States” from waters near China.

Yet, that doesn’t change the fact that the DOD is on the record, saying just a few years ago, that the JL-2 had an 8,000 kms range and the capability to target the entire PNW.

TheDiplomat agrees that the JL-2 has an 8,000 km range:

http://thediplomat.com/flashpoints-blog/2013/07/25/coming-soon-chinas-jl-2-sub-launched-ballistic-missile/

So the JL-2’s range is 8,000 kms, not a mere 7,200 or 7,400.

With that range, the JL-2 still cannot target the CONUS while being in Chinese territorial waters – but it can target anything on the West Coast, including LA and San Diego, if positioned at just slightly east of 150E, i.e. slightly east of Honshu Island. Roughly the same geographic longitude as Micronesia.

If it sails somewhat further into the Pacific, to 160E, it can target any place in the CONUS. I’ve already covered this subject here:

http://zbigniewmazurak.wordpress.com/2012/11/20/dismissing-the-jin-ssbn-class-is-wrong/

And included a nice map here:

http://zbigniewmazurak.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/easia_oceania_92_2.jpg?w=1024&h=710

Of course, if the JL-2’s range is 9,000 kms, as some reports say, the Jin class can target the CONUS from even further afar.

In any case, within a few years, the discussion over the JL-2’s range will become a moot one, because two new JL-2 variants will enter service: the Jia and the Yi. The Jia will be able to carry 6-8 warheads over a distance of 12,000 kms; the Yi, up to 12 warheads over a range of 14,000 kms. Proof:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JL-2

Both of these missiles will give the Jin class the ability to target any place in the CONUS from Chinese territorial waters or even their homeports.
And as for the oft-repeated idiocy that China has only 250 warheads – it’s also a blatant lie. In fact, China has between 1,600 and 3,000 nuclear warheads, according to estimates by General Viktor Yesin (former CoS of the Russian SMF) and Professor Philip Karber (former DOD chief nuclear strategist), respectively. China’s 3,000 miles of missile tunnels alone prove that China’s nuclear arsenal is far, far larger than a mere 250 warheads – you don’t build such a vast network of tunnels for just 250 warheads. A few hundred miles would have been enough.

There is other evidence China’s nuke arsenal is larger than that. The PLAAF alone has more bombs than a mere 250 for its bomber/striker fleet (H-6s, JH-7s, Q-5s): 440 according to General Yesin. China also has 500 nuclear-armed LACMs and SRBMs, and China’s 100-120 MRBMs (DF-3, DF-21) are quite likely also nuclear-armed, considering the vast majority of them are aimed at Russia and India.

3) There is no evidence that the Central Military Commission has NOT delegated command-and-control authority to the PLA Navy and that China does not load nuclear warheads onto its submarines. In fact, we should assume that the CMC HAS given such authority to the PLAN and that Chinese SSBNs ARE normally loaded with nuclear warheads. Otherwise, it would make no sense at all for China to build all of these submarines and missiles only not to load them with nuclear weapons. In any case, China threat deniers like Conroy and Kristensen have no evidence whatsoever for their claims.

4) The PLA Navy has five Jin class subs, not a mere three, and is building a sixth one. Three Jin class boats is what it had in 2007/2008, when none other than Hans Kristensen spotted the third Jin class sub in a satellite photo of Huludao Shipyard. Evidence here.

Kristensen also desperately denies that any articles boasting of the PLA’s nuclear strike capability against the United States have been published in Chinese state media. He claims this has appeared only on private Chinese websites not connected to the government.

This claim, however, like all other claims of Kristensen, is patently false, however. The article boasting of how China would strike the US with nuclear warheads carried by JL-2 and DF-31 missiles appeared in none other than the Global Times – a state-run, rabidly anti-American newspaper tightly linked to and controlled by the Communist Party of China. As Bill Gertz correctly reported in the Washington Times on Nov. 20th (emphasis mine):

“an alarming report in another newspaper, the xenophobic Communist Party-affiliated Global Times, revealing for the first time the Chinese military’s detailed plans for using submarine-launched and road-mobile nuclear missiles to attack American cities.

The Global Times article included photos of missile systems and maps showing nuclear attacks on downtown Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, and other U.S. locations.

“In general, after a nuclear missile strikes a city, the radioactive dust produced by 20 warheads will be spread by the wind, forming a contaminated area for thousands of kilometers,” the report said.

“Based on the actual level of China’s one million tons TNT equivalent small nuclear warhead technology, the 12 JL-2 [submarine-launched] nuclear missiles carried by one Type 094 nuclear submarine could cause the destruction of five million to 12 million people, forming a very clear deterrent effect.”

*********************

In sum, China threat deniers’ claims are all blatant lies. China DOES already have a credible sea-based nuclear deterrent and its JL-2 SLBMs CAN hit the Continental United States if launched from a position just slightly east of Japan. China has five, not three, modern Jin class submarines, enabling it to provide a continous at-sea nuclear deterrent, and these submarines CAN, without much difficulty, evade detection by the USN.

Let’s face it. China is coming closer to reaching nuclear parity with the US every day – and deploying Jin class subs is a big step in that regard. These subs have given China a very survivable, accurate, deadly, and continous at-sea nuclear deterrent. 

Rebuttal of Andrew Erickson’s “let’s play solely on defense” proposals

Display of might

AirSea Battle, the DOD’s battle concept for countering China’s rapid military rise and aggressive actions in East Asia, has been under fire from the opponents of a strong national defense and from China’s lackeys in the US since its inception. They claim, inter alia, that AirSea Battle, which postulates striking the Chinese mainland in the event of Chinese aggression against the US or its allies, is too provocative and escalatory and would cause an unnecessary “escalation” in the event of a conflict.

Among the proponents of such a ludicrous claim are retired colonel T. X. Hammes and Naval War College professor Andrew Erickson. The former proposes playing on the defense in East Asia while interdicting China’s sealanes of commerce at strategic chokepoints – the straits in South and East Asia, between the various islands there (85% of China’s oil goes through the Strait of Malacca alone). Erickson, for his part, considers even that to be too “escalatory” and advocates playing solely on defense.

To support their concepts, these people claim that when playing on defense, America can attrite China’s offensive weapons by fielding more defensive systems and forcing China to spend money on overcoming them. But this is a recipe for failure. Firstly, as I’ll discuss below, few wars in history have been won solely on the defensive, and secondly, China can always outproduce and outbuild the US, and build multiple offensive weapons for every single defensive system the US or its allies deploy. Let’s discuss this in more detail.

Even assuming that the DOD and the US defense industry somehow get much more efficient in the next few years, that proposition is utterly unrealistic, and will always be.

Why? Because in China, one dollar can buy far, far more than in the West – so for every air defense system or anti-ship missile launcher the US or Japan buys, China can buy several. Ditto fighters. Ditto missile defense systems. Ditto every other class of weapon systems.

Say the US spends $1 bn on air defense systems for its bases in East Asia and China spends $2 bn on stealth a/c and bombs (or missiles) designed to take them out. Say the US can buy 10 batteries for that $1 bn. For $2 bn, China could buy at least 20 (and probably more) J-20 stealth strike a/c with a full complement of weapons.

China has, and will always have, a big advantange in numbers over the US (except nuclear weapons). That is inevitable. In terms of numbers, China can always out-build and out-produce the US. However many defensive systems the US and its Pacific allies deploy, China can always saturate them with huge amounts of offensive weapons (ballistic and cruise missiles, bombs, ASAT weapons, submarines, anti-ship missiles, etc. etc. usw.).

The US can NEVER compete with China in that regard – which means the US can NEVER afford to play with China solely on defense. China already has more than enough ballistic and cruise missiles to destroy every US and allied base in the First and Second Island Chain (in SK, Japan, the Phils, Guam, northern Australia, etc.) several times over, using DF-11, DF-15, DF-16, DF-21, DF-25, DF-3, CJ-10, DH-10, and HN-3 ballistic and cruise missiles launched from the ground and (in the CJ-10’s and HN-3’s case) from H-6K bombers. In fact, China has far more of these missiles than it knows what to do with!

And missile INTERCEPTORS, as the CSBA points out, and as this very website has noted some time ago, cost FAR more than the offensive missiles they’re supposed to shoot down. For example, an SM-3 or THAAD missile costs $10 mn per copy; a single GBI costs $70 mn per copy. A single PATRIOT costs over $3 mn per missile. China can build offensive missiles for a fraction of that amount.

The future USS Gerald R. Ford will cost $13 bn by the time it’s completed, the Kennedy, $10-11 bn. For that amount of money, China can build 1,227 DF-21D ASBMs for each carrier. Which means China can build over TWELVE HUNDRED carrier-killer missiles for each a/c the US builds going forward. US missile defenses would have to intercept EVERY SINGLE ONE of these missiles to protect the carrier, while only one DF-21D would need to hit its target to sink it.

“Going into China” is the ONLY way to defeat that country should any war arise in East Asia. Not going into China would mean giving China sanctuary on its ENTIRE territory, leaving it free to continually stage attack after attack from that territory and continue to produce offensive weapons en masse – in quantities far outproducing the US.

One could say it’s an “escalation” – but if China tries to grab the disputed islands by force, or attacks America’s Pacific allies directly, that will already be a HUGE escalation of the present situation, and at that point, no attempt to “restrain” such war will bring peace or reduce casualties and suffering on either side. If China does commit aggression, the US will be fully justified to strike China itself. Chinese leaders should know that.

Historically – and I speak here as a history grad with the highest honors (I hold BA and MA degrees in the field) – few, if any wars, have been won by fighting solely on the defensive. That’s because playing solely on defense allows the enemy to control the tempo of the war and to decide where and when you will fight. It gives him the initiative and thus, the ultimate victory. Winning purely defensive wars is possible only if the enemy commits some monumentally stupid mistake, thus defeating himself. Tell me, Messrs. Clark and Freedberg, exactly how many wars have been won solely by playing on defense?

This fact was brilliantly demonstrated by China’s most-reputed military genius, Sun Tzu (whose teachings are clearly lost on “Professor” Erickson and on this website’s editors). Sun Tzu was tasked by Helu, the King of Wu, to defend his state against an expected invasion by a much larger neighbor – Chu. Master Sun could’ve simply locked himself up with his troops in Wu cities and fortresses, but being Sun Tzu, he did the opposite. He did the unexpected. He invaded Chu.

(Of course Sun Tzu did not initially confront the large Chu army head-on; he started by attacking softer targets like small bases, border crossings, and unfortified cities and villages, in a guerilla-like style. Only much later on did he battle the large (but by then, depleted) Chu army directly.)

Likewise, during the Civil War, the Confederacy twice attempted to invade the North to achieve a political goal of forcing the Union to sue for peace (and convincing European powers to recognize the South) by defeating the Union on its home court. (Lee would’ve done that if he had taken Harrisburg and Camp Curtin as he originally planned instead of being distracted by Union cavalry detachments in Gettysburg and abandoning the original plan.)

By contrast, during the Korean War, the US played solely on defense, with the disastrous result that the war dragged on and on for years because China could always field far more troops and weapons in Korea than the US and its allies could – and the Truman administration was too cowardice to strike China. The result? By November 1952 the American people were so weary of the war they elected a President who promised to end it.

And you know how he ended the war? By threatening to escalate with nuclear weapons against China if the Communists continued the war. This, coupled with Stalin’s death and his successors’ struggle for power, ended the war.

Again, it must be underlined: very few wars have been won by playing solely on defense. Winning requires going on the offense.

Master Sun himself wrote in his treatise, the Art of War, that you can secure yourself against defeat by remaining on defense, but to WIN you’ll have to go on offense; and that “those skilled in warfare bring the enemy to the battlefield; they are not brought there by him”, meaning they choose the time and place of battle instead of letting the enemy choose them.

Last but not least, fielding all the long-range strike weapon systems called for by AirSea Battle and making it clear to China that its mainland would not be spared from US strikes if Beijing commits an act of aggression against anyone is actually very likely to PREVENT war in the first place by DETERRING China.

Beijing will refrain from aggression ONLY if it understands that any attack on America or its Asian allies would result in a swift, devastating retaliation against the PRC. In fact, only a credible threat of an immediate and devastating retaliation can deter ANY potential aggressor – including, but not solely, China.

On the other hand, declaring – or making it clear through procurement choices – that the US will, in even of a war, play only on defense and leave mainland China untouched will only EMBOLDEN China. For it would signal clearly to China that it could attack other countries, wreak death and destruction upon them, based on the most ridiculous territorial claims – and the worst it could expect would be an America desperately trying to defend these countries’ territories. No threat of any US retaliation upon China – Beijing would be free to churn out thousands of missiles, aircraft, and other offensive weapons, and launch attacks from any base on its territory.

This would be seen in Beijing as what it really is – a sign of weakness and cowardice.

US policymakers should utterly reject any such proposals and proceed full speed ahead with implementation of AirSea Battle in word and deed. ALL weapon systems and force posture changes called for by that battle concept must be fully procured/implemented in the required quantities. No ifs, no buts, no ands.

Rebuttal of William Hartung’s blatant lies about the threat environment

Display of might

The leftist “BreakingDefense” website has recently (on Dec. 12th) published yet another utterly ridiculous leftist screed, this time by ignorant anti-defense hack William Hartung from the far-left “New America Foundation”, an organization that seeks to turn America into a socialist, militarily weak country. In that garbage screed, Hartung falsely claims that:

1) The world is much safer now than during the Cold War and there is no significant threat to America’s or her allies’ security;

2) US military superiority is uncontested and there’s no one able to contest it;

3) The US spends too much on defense and should cut it by $100 bn per year, below Cold War average levels;

4) The only threats to US security on the horizon are the politically-correct threats of man-made climate change, disease, hunger, and nuclear-armed terrorists, and potential “miscalculations” in the current territorial disputes in East Asia. Hartung falsely claims none of America’s current or future security challenges can be solved through the “traditional means of military power”;

5) The Ryan-Murray budget deal would give an additional $20 bn to the DOD every year and would effectively increase defense spending.

All of Hartung’s claims are patently false. All of them.

1) Despite his pious denials, the world is far, far more dangerous than at any point during the Cold War except the Cuban Missile Crisis over 50 years ago. It is, in fact, more dangerous than at any point since WW2, again excluding only the CMC. During the CW, the US had to deter only one hostile superpower. Today, it has to deter and keep in check TWO hostile superpowers with large nuclear arsenals – Russia and China – as well as a nuclear-armed and belligerent North Korea, soon to be joined by a nuclear-armed Iran. It also has to fight terrorist organizations, such as AQ and Hezbollah, around the world. To cut US defense spending even further (after all the previous, pre-sequestration rounds of defense cuts implemented by the Obama admin) would be suicidal. No, the US is not spending too much on defense; if anything, it is spending too little. The world is decidedly NOT safer now than during the Cold War; for all of the above reasons, it is far MORE dangerous.

2) US military superiority is mostly a thing of the past already. Russia and China both wield large, modern, and growing nuclear arsenals as well as large, modern conventional militaries. In most categories of weapons, they’ve already matched or bested the US and are now working on closing the remaining few gaps. Their Flanker fighters are superior to everything the US flies except the F-22 and upgraded F-15C/Ds. Their PAKFA, J-20, and J-31 stealth fighters will best everything on the planet except the F-22 (whose capability they will nonetheless approach). Their Sovremenny and Type 052 DDGs are better than the USN’s DDGs, their submarines are quieter than the USN’s (who also sucks at ASW), and the PLAN already has far more attack subs than the USN does. In a few years, the PLAN will have more submarines, and more ships, in total than the USN. They both also have IRBMs, a class of weapons the US does not have, and China also has a huge arsenal of GLCMs. It is now also developing a stealthy, intercontinental bomber capable of reaching the CONUS.

But most troublingly, these countries (and on a lesser scale, rogue states like the DPRK and Iran) have fielded large, multi-layered networks of anti-access/area-denial weapons and capabilities that can shutter the US military out of entire war theaters completely, by destroying US land bases, USN surface ships, US satellites, and crippling US cyber networks as well as denying access to their airspace to all but the most stealthy a/c (F-22s and B-2s, plus the future LRSB/NGB). Their air defense systems can shoot any nonstealthy aircraft from hundreds of kilometers away. This means the US will have to acquire a wholly new series of long-range strike platforms that can access even the most heavily-defended countries, hit their assets, and operate at great distances, as well as disperse, harden, and fortify its current land bases and upgrade its air and missile defenses. This cannot be done on the cheap – it will require significant and sustained investments.

So Hartung’s claim that there’s no threat to US military supremacy is also a blatant lie – like the rest of his screed.

3) How much money the US has spent on defense in decades past is completely irrelevant to how much money should it be spending on defense right now. The only way to determine the right amount is to ask: “What exact capabilities (and thus weapons) do we need, at what level of sophistication, and at what quantity, and how much will it cost to recruit, house, feed, equip, train, maintain, care for, and compensate such a military?” Only this way can the right amount of defense spending be determined.

Raw figures and exclamations, like “oh my gosh, we’re spending $480 bn to $500 bn per year on defense, can’t we provide for our security with that amount?” and “oh my gosh, we’re spending more than during the Cold War on defense!” are utterly irrelevant and childish. Not to mention that the dollar is worth far, far less today than during the Cold War, and that as a share of the federal budget and of GDP, the US now spends LESS on defense than at any point since FY1940.

Hartung, whose goal is to totally gut America’s defense, OTOH, wants to arbitrarily cut US defense spending deeply so that it will be woefully inadequate.

4) Despite Hartung’s blatant lies that the world’s current security threats cannot be solved by military means, nothing could be further from the truth. Today, the biggest threats to America’s and its allies’ security are: an ascendant and aggressive China, a resurgent and aggressive Russia, a nuclear-armed NK preying on its southern neighbor and the US itself, an Iran speedily developing nuclear weapons and BMs, and terrorist groups of global reach like Hezbollah and AQ. These threats cannot be defeated by ANYTHING other than military means – because the ONLY thing these potential aggressors understand and respect is military strength. It’s the only thing that can deter and if necessary (Hezbollah, AQ) defeat them.

5) Contrary to Hartung’s blatant lies, the Ryan-Murray budget deal would not add a penny to the defense budget. It would only slightly reduce the amount of sequestration-required budget cuts the DOD would have to make in FY2014 and FY2015: by roughly $20 bn this FY and $9 bn the next, out of over $50 bn in cuts mandated by the sequester for every FY going forward thru FY2022. After FY2015, the sequester would return in full force.

Even before sequestration, the DOD had already cut almost a TRILLION dollars out of its budget: in over $330 bn in cuts resulting from the killing of over 50 crucial weapon programs by Sec. Gates, $178 bn in his later “efficiencies”, and $487 bn under the first tranche of BCA-mandated (pre-sequester) budget cuts. Sequestration is only the newest series of defense budget cuts being implemented by the Obama administration, which targeted defense for deep cuts as soon as it took office. Any claim that Ryan and Murray want to add any amount of money to the defense budget is a flat-out lie.

6) The Stimson Center’s proposals are useless, because they would “achieve” $25 bn in “savings” only by deeply cutting the military’s MUSCLE – America’s military CAPABILITIES, not the fat. Specifically, the Army would see even deeper cuts than those proposed by Obama, and the Navy’s planned SSBN replacement fleet would get cut from the barely-adequate planned number of 12 to just 10 boats. This is the defense policy of a madhouse.

7) Hartung shows his true colors when he calls on Congress not to spare the DOD at all from the sequester… but does not object to Congress reducing the scheduled sequester cuts to nondefense (domestic) discretionary programs, the vast majority of which are unconstitutional. This proves, once again, that Hartung’s goal is NOT to save taxpayers money, but to gut America’s defense.

And for that, he should be damnated forever as the traitor he is.

Shame on Hartung for lying so blatantly, but above all, shame on BD and its editors, Colin Clark and Sydney Freedberg, for publishing his litany of blatant lies and thus giving him yet another avenue to lie to the public, as if he didn’t have enough. Shame on you, Messrs. Clark and Freedberg!

What military capabilities will be crucial in the years ahead

nukeexplosion

Although it’s hard to predict what the world will look like ten or twenty years from now, we can say with certainty that it will be even more dangerous than it is today and that the existing threats to US national security – Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, etc. – will grow even worse over time.

That being the case, it is time to completely cancel and reverse the sequestration of the US defense budget, to fund the US military properly, and to think what capabilities (and thus weapon systems, as well as skills for personnel) will it need in the future.

These capabilities cannot be chosen in a vacuum; they need to be oriented towards defeating the potential adversaries of the US: Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, and the various terrorist organizations they support.

#1: Nuclear deterrence; and #2, ballistic missile defense

The biggest threat to US national security by far is that of a nuclear, chemical, biological, or ballistic missile attack by a peer adversary (Russia, China) or a rogue state (North Korea, Iran), because the consequences of failing to deter and prevent such an attack would be far graver than any other kind of attack. Even one nuclear warhead detonating over an American city or major military base would be worse than the sinking of 10 US warships.

Russia alone has 434 ICBMs, 251 intercontinental bombers, and 13 ballistic missile subs. The submarines alone can deliver over 2,000 warheads to the CONUS, while its ICBMs can deliver 1,684. China also has a large nuclear arsenal: between 1,600 and 3,000 warheads, as well as at least 87 ICBMs, 120-160 strategic bombers, and 6 ballistic missile subs. China can deliver hundreds of warheads to the US, and would gladly nuke American cities and major military bases if it could get away with it without American retaliation, as official Chinese media have recently noted. Deterring these adversaries, and providing a nuclear umbrella to over 30 allies of the US, requires a large nuclear arsenal; a small one will not suffice.

As for ballistic missiles, over 30 countries possess them today, and these missiles’ accuracy, range, and payload – especially in China’s Iran’s, and North Korea’s case – is growing fast.

Accordingly, defending against these threats must be the US government’s #1 priority. This requires maintaining the US nuclear arsenal at NO LESS than its current size and modernizing all three legs of the nuclear triad (bombers, ICBMs, submarines) as well as the supporting plutonium- and uranium-producing facilities.

Additionally, it requires deploying a comprehensive missile defense system to protect the homeland and US bases overseas from ballistic missile attack. If you can’t protect the homeland, you are out of the power-projection game, period.

#3: Long-range strike

Although ballistic missiles and their payloads are a significant threat in and of themselves, they are but a part of America’s adversaries anti-access/area-denial (A2/AD) arsenals of weapons designed to keep the US military out of crucial world regions (such as the Pacific Rim and the Middle East) – to prevent the US military from even being present, let alone operating and winning battles, there.

Ballistic (and cruise) missiles, as well as enemy strike aircraft, pose a large threat to US forward bases abroad, including in those regions (and to American carrier battle groups) – and the US is currently heavily dependend on these. The US must therefore dramatically reduce its dependence on overseas bases (and on theater-range platforms operating from them, such as tactical strike aircraft) and begin to quickly develop and deploy a family of long-range strike systems.

These must include a stealthy long-range bomber, a new tanker, conventional prompt global strike (CPGS) weapons (preferrably missiles), the Virginia Payload Module for Virginia class submarines, and stealthy-long range jammer and naval strike aircraft (preferrably unmanned).

The centerpiece of this must be the long-range strike bomber, of which at least 100, and preferrably 200 or more, should be built.

#4:  Anti-submarine warfare

America’s potential adversaries around the world all operate a large number of submarines. Russia has 43, China has 63-64, and Iran has at least three. North Korea operates a large fleet of midget submarines that could perform suicide, intelligence, or commando infiltration/exfiltration missions. Russia’s, China’s, and Iran’s submarines can launch a wide range of weapons, including, and most worryingly, SS-N-27 Sizzler anti-ship missiles.

Yet, the USN’s anti-sub warfare capabilities have declined dramatically since 9/11. All S-3 Viking ASW aircraft have been retired, the number and condition of P-3 Orions has declined badly, and P-8 Poseidons are just beignning to tnter service. USN personnel’s skills have also plummeted. In recent years, the USN has held ASW exercises with numerous allied nations bringing their quiet diesel-electric subs to bear.  The USN FAILED to find these subs in EACH exercise.

If those exercises had been real combat, all USN aircraft carriers would’ve been at the bottom of the sea right now.

ASW must start being treated as a priority, not as an afterthought. More submarines and more P-8 aircraft must be built, P-3 Orions’ service lives must be extended or zero-timed, enough spares should be brought in from AMARC, and USN personnel must be trained properly in ASW.

#5: Demining

China alone has about 100,000 naval mines; North Korea, Iran, and Russia have further thousands. Iran could easily close the Strait of Hormuz simply by mining it. Yet, demining has been an afterthought for the USN until recently, with the US relying on allies to do most of the work.

As a result, the much smaller French Navy has only two demining vessels fewer (11) than the USN (13), and the (also much smaller) UK Royal Navy has 15 – more than the USN! While the US should continue to ensure that allies continue to provide these crucial assets when need be, it also needs its own, proper demining ship fleet with personnel specialized in this kind of work. This would be cheap, and could easily be paid for by cancelling the LCS program.

#6: Air superiority

Air superiority is and will continue to be crucial for winning wars. If you don’t control the skies, you’ll lose. Additionally, it is much better to kill the archer than the arrows – to shoot down a missile-launching plane than try to intercept the missiles.

To do that, the USAF needs a dedicated air superiority platform. The best choice by far would be resuming F-22 Raptor production, prematurely terminated for purely political purposes 2009 at a paltry 187 aircraft. Alternatively, the USAF could procure several hundred F-15SE Silent Eagles, a new variant of the F-15 Eagle. This (and all other capabilities listed herein) could easily paid for by cancelling the ridiculous, egregiously over budget F-35 Junk Strike Fighter program. Additionally, the USAF should train with, and fly simulated combat against, Su-30 operators such as India, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam, as this is the mainstay fighter of the Russian and Chinese air force.

Conclusion

Because the sequester will likely remain the law for several years to come, and thus resources will be ever more scarce, the DOD won’t be able to get everything it wants or needs. Tradeoffs are inevitable.

It is therefore important to make the right tradeoffs – to maintain and even increase investments in the crucial capabilities, weapon systems, and human skills listed above, while scaling back those that will be less relevant in future threat environments. Nuclear deterrence must remain the first priority, because the nuclear threat to the US and its allies will only grow in the years and decades ahead, but several other key capabilities also receive priority status to prevail over the most dangerous threats of the 21st century.

Rebuttal of WSJ’s lies on defense spending

On December 3rd, the Wall Street Journal published a “Review and Outlook” article which was essentially a litany of lies on defense spending and American politics based on utterly false budget numbers. In it, the WSJ urged defense conservatives in Congress and House Appropriators not to break the Budget Control Act’s extremely low caps on defense spending and to keep the sequester mechanism, even though it is gutting the US military.

The WSJ falsely claims:

“The main obstacle to GOP political gains in 2014 would be another stupid, futile budget standoff—and Republicans are just the party to try.

This time the insurrection isn’t coming from the Heritage Foundation-tea party caucus, but from defense hawks and appropriators who want to break the annual spending caps in current law. This would be another act of political masochism, handing budget leverage to Senate Democrats and frustrating the GOP’s fiscal conservative base.

The defense rebellion is led by Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon, who wants Congress to cancel the $20 billion Pentagon spending cut for fiscal 2014. Many of the 34 Republicans on his committee are threatening to vote against a fiscal 2014 budget that keeps the caps and automatic sequester in place. (…)

Republicans would be wiser to stick to the Budget and Control Act’s spending caps, which have been highly effective in controlling discretionary spending. (…) The appropriators and defense hawks exaggerate how severe the cuts are. The budget caps forced deep cutbacks in fiscal 2012 and 2013, but those were off the inflated spending baselines from Mr. Obama’s first two years in office. The nearby table shows that after 2014 the caps start to rise again and merely require slower than usual spending increases. Domestic spending increases by $88 billion, or 19%, from 2014 to 2021. Defense spending in particular takes a hit in 2014 but increases in 2015 and keeps rising by $92 billion to $590 billion, or 18%, in 2021.”

All of the WSJ’s claims are blatant lies.

Firstly, contrary to their utterly false claims, under sequestration defense spending will NOT rise to $590 bn, or anything close to that, in FY2021, or at any point in the next few decades for that matter. They’re using utterly false nominal dollar figures, i.e. ones NOT adjusted for inflation – which renders these figures utterly false and meaningless. Inflation is a serious problem in the US (mainly thanks to the Fed’s “Quantitative Easing”), and it erodes the dollar’s value over time.

(What’s worse, the WSJ uses the liberal “Committee for a Reponsible Federal Budget”, a far-left group, as a source.)

In REAL TERMS, i.e. inflation-adjusted dollars, defense spending won’t even reach $500 bn by FY2021, nor for several years afterwards! By FY2022, it will still be at a very low $493 bn in real terms. (Figures from the CBO’s July 11th, 2012 on the nation’s fiscal outlook and the sequester’s fiscal consequences.)

I repeat: in FY2022, eight years from now, defense spending will STILL be below $500 – and nowhere close to $590 bn – at a paltry $493 bn. (See the graph below.)

defensebudgetaccordingtothecbo2

And the defense spending cuts that occurred in 2012 and 2013 were NOT, by any means, cuts from an “inflated baseline” – they were real-term spending cuts. In FY2013, virtually overnight, the DOD had to cut its budget from $525 bn to $469 bn, i.e. by $66 bn (this was later softened to $37 bn by Congress). This fiscal year, because of sequestration, the DOD has to cut its budget all the way down to $475 bn. These cuts ARE very severe, and they amount to far more than the mere $20 bn the WSJ claims.

By the way, the WSJ is completely contradicting itself. It falsely claims that the sequester’s cuts are merely cuts to federal spending growth and further claims that “Mr. Obama calls this overall spending increase of about $800 billion a “cut” because of the annual automatic baseline increases that Washington invented to ensure that spending always rises.”

But just a few paragraphs earlier, the WSJ says (this time correctly) that the sequester is a real spending cut:

“Federal outlays declined to $3.45 trillion and 20.8% of GDP in fiscal 2013 from $3.6 trillion and 24.1% of GDP in 2011. In 2010 discretionary spending peaked at 9.4% of GDP, but in 2013 it was down to 7.6% and in 2014 will fall to 7%.”

So which is it, WSJ editors? Is the sequester a real spending cut or not? You can’t have it both ways.

And these are NOT the first cuts to defense under Barack Obama. He targeted defense for big cuts as soon as he took office. In 2009 and 2010, his first SECDEF, Robert Gates (one of the worst Defense Secretaries in US history), killed over 50 crucial weapon programs, including the F-22 fighter, the MKV and KEI missile defense programs, the Airborne Laser, the Zumwalt class of DDGs, and C-17 production.

In 2011, he instituted $178 bn worth of further cuts and “efficiencies.” And later in 2011, under the first tranche of cuts (pre-sequester) required by the Budget Control Act, the DOD was required to cut $487 bn from its budget from then until FY2021.

The sequester is not the first or even the second, but the FIFTH series of defense cuts under President Obama.

And the sequester IS gutting the US military. Entire squadrons are grounded, training has been cut, dozens of ships and hundreds of aircraft are inactive and awaiting maintenance that has been delayed by the sequester, and pilots are leaving the military in droves – despite record bonuses – because their birds are grounded for a lack of funding.

Eventually, if the sequester persists, the DOD will have to dramatically cut force structure AND cancel key modernization programs, a finding that the DOD and all non-leftist think-tanks agree on. The CSBA, for example, proposes accepting a deep cut in readiness and force structure to fund modernization, while the AEI and Heritage think all three will inevitably have to be cut.

Those are VERY severe cuts, coming on the heels of previous recent defense cuts totalling $1 trillion, contrary to the WSJ’s lies.

Indeed, the WSJ itself says:

“Mr. McKeon is sincere in his concern for U.S. national security, and in normal budget times we would support his priorities. It speaks volumes about Mr. Obama’s priorities that he devised a sequester that requires 50% of total cuts to come from national security that is 17% of the budget, but no cuts from income-transfer programs that account for well over half the budget.”

Excuse me? In normal times? Now is the worst possible time to make dramatic cuts to defense spending (this would be foolish at anytime, but especially now). Russia and China, two hostile superpowers, are arming themselves to the teeth and behaving aggressively – Russia in Europe, China in the Pacific. Both have already equalled or surpassed the US in most military capabilities. Moscow is also conducting a huge nuclear arsenal buildup. Iran is marching steadily towards nuclear weapons. North Korea has miniaturized warheads and ICBMs able to reach the US, and is building a new missile site.

Yet, the US military still has to use hopelessly obsolete and worn-out equipment dating back to the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s. Washington has been on a procurement holiday since 1989. Decades of that procurement holiday, of underinvestment in defense, are taking a heavy toll and the bill for them is now due.

Now is the worst time ever to underfund America’s defense.

The WSJ says, for its part, that

“But budgeting is a political act, and at the current moment the caps and automatic sequester cuts are the only negotiating leverage Republicans have with Democrats.”

It also claims, several paragraphs earlier, that “the Budget and Control Act’s spending caps, which have been highly effective in controlling discretionary spending.” But controlling discretionary spending is utterly meaningless if you can’t control and reduce mandatory (entitlement + debt interest) spending – and that, the BCA’s sequester utterly fails to do, because mandatory spending is completely exempt from its budget caps, including the sequester’s.

Without dramatic reforms, entitlement programs (mandatory spending) will completely overcrowd and cut into discretionary spending, eventually eliminating it completely. That’s right: absent entitlement reform, in a few decades there will be NO money for defense, airport and border security, the postal service, or any other discretionary federal program.  And the national debt will balloon to over 200% of GDP as Baby Boomer retirement causes a tsunami of entitlement (mandatory) spending.

Even with the sequester, the federal budget deficit stands at $680 bn this fiscal year – and will only grow each year as more Baby Boomers retire.

So the sequester’s cuts are very destructive to America’s defense and completely useless in balancing the federal budget.

Last but not least, the sequester was NEVER intended to be policy. It was NEVER intended to be implemented. It was designed to scare the Supercommittee (does anyone else still remember it?) into reaching an agreement.

The WSJ is completely wrong on all counts. Republicans should not “stick” to the sequester – they should scrap it completely.

Shame on the WSJ for lying so blatantly and for supporting such deep, destructive cuts to America’s defense.

Tell Congress: Stop the TAFTA!

alg-american-flag-money-jpg

The Obama administration recently commenced (unconstitutionally, and thus illegally) negotiations with the European Union on the subject of a Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA).

Although it is being presented by Obama propaganda media as a win-win for the US and the EU, the fact is that it will be yet another act of unilateral disarmament by the United States to yet another trade partner, as all free trade agreements historically have been.

In parallel, Obama has also proposed a similar free trade agreement for the Pacific, called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Both of these “free trade agreements” must be stopped dead in their tracks NOW. Here’s why.

CDN readers know that for a long time, I have been warning against unilateral disarmament by the US, because, quite simply, it dismantles America’s defenses and thus leaves America open to aggression.

So-called “free trade” and the unilateral abolition of tariffs, subsidies, and other protective barriers to foreign imports is also unilateral disarmament – in the trade arena. And just as unilateral disarmament in the military arena is a supremely stupid, suicidal policy, so is unilateral disarmament (i.e. “free trade”) in the trade arena.

Since the 1960s, the US has dramatically cut its tariffs, subsidies for domestic producers, and other barriers to foreign imports, has turned a blind eye to currency manipulation by foreign countries, and has signed numerous free trade agreements. The result has been an economic disaster for the US.

Let the facts speak for themselves:

A country that was once the world’s industrial powerhouse, the economic and industrial envy of the world, the world’s largest producer of goods, a fully self-sufficient country producing everything it (and its foreign customers) needed, is now heavily dependent on foreign countries for virtually everything it buys and uses – the clothes and shoes Americans wear, the cars they drive, the computers and TVs they use, etc.

Real median wages of US workers have not risen at all since the mid-1970s and have been stagnant for over 40 years now.

Since 2000 alone, over 6 million well-paying manufacturing jobs and over 55,000 factories have been lost, shipped to China, India, and other “developing countries” by US companies allowed to outsource jobs because of “free trade agreements” that allow them to produce all kinds of stuff abroad and then ship it back, free of any tariff or duty, back to the US. This drives those companies that chose to stay in the US out of business.

Since signing “free trade agreements”, the US has begun to run massive trade deficits with its trade partners. Last year, the US had the following annual trade deficits with the following countries:

  • $20 bn with crisis-stricken Italy, $25 bn with crisis-stricken Ireland, and $60 bn with that exporting economic powerhouse, Germany; $125 bn with the entire European Union as a whole;
  • $32 bn with Canada;
  • $61 bn with Mexico;
  • $76 bn with Japan;
  • $16.6 bn with South Korea;
  • $315 bn with China.

Before NAFTA was signed, the US had trade surpluses with Mexico and Canada; now it has huge annual trade deficits with them – to the tune of $32 bn with Canada and $61 bn with Mexico.

In 2012 alone, the first year under the Korea-US free trade agreement, America’s trade deficit with South Korea skyrocketed by 25%. In April 2012, the first full month under that agreement, the trade gap with Seoul increased by 33%!

With Japan, it’s even worse: America’s trade deficit with that country last year was $76 bn, the largest ever between the two countries. (But that’s not good enough for Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, who has successfully pressured the Bank of Japan into devaluing the yen to boost Japanese exports further.)

Last year, America’s annual trade deficit with China was the largest ever between ANY two countries in recorded human history: $315 bn. That’s the largest trade gap not just between the US and China, but between ANY two countries in human history!

Such are the disastrous results that the geniuses advocating free trade – politicians from both parties, pro-free-trade think tanks, and their corporate bundlers – have achieved.

But free trade is actually good for their corporate sugar daddies. Which is why it was implemented in the first place.

You see, while “free trade agreements” have resulted in over 55,000 US factories being closed and over 6 mn Americans losing their manufacturing jobs – forced into unemployment or tedious jobs – it has allowed multinational corporations to ship jobs and factories overseas (e.g. to China), produce stuff there, and then ship it back to the US – free from any US tariffs, duties, or laws – sell them in the US, and pocket all the resulting profit increases.

And who exactly pockets these higher profits? Their CEOs, who get seven- and eight-digit annual salaries after throwing off US workers into unemployment and hiring Chinese workers for $2/hour.

And who enabled these multinational corporations to do that? Politicians of both parties… but mostly Republicans.

Some of them have simply been fooled by the dogmatic theology of free trade being spread by these corporations themselves and think-tanks sponsored by them (e.g. the Heritage Foundation, the CATO Institute, the Mercatus Center – all of them funded generously by corporate sugar daddies).

But many Republicans, and the party as a whole, did that for a more sinister reason: to get lavish campaign contributions from these multinational, outsourcing corporations.

You see, there’s a good reason why the GOP is called “the party of the rich”, “the party of big corporations”, and “the party that cares only about rich people and big corporations”: it’s true.

The GOP cares ONLY about them. If you’re not rich or a multinational corporation, the GOP doesn’t give a rat’s turd about you, if you pardon my language.

This explains why tens of millions of Americans, including the Reagan Democrats, have deserted the GOP, and why the Party has lost the popular vote in 5 of the last 6 presidential elections.

Everytime it came down to choosing between Corporate America and ordinary Americans, Republicans sided with Corporate America. They have always chosen K Street over Main Street. They allowed Corporate America to outsource millions of jobs overseas.

So the working class – Reagan Democrats – left the GOP, which betrayed them. And without them, the GOP will never win any election ever again.

But today’s Democrats are not much better. Few of them care about the US industry or US workers. Most of them, including Barack Obama, are in the pockets of big corporations and rich people, too. (How do you think Obama amassed so much money for both presidential campaigns, and why do you think is he so cozy with wealthy CEOs like Jeffrey Immelt?)

Hence why both parties support the idiocy of “free trade”, despite Gallup telling us that 64% of Americans would prefer to buy American-made goods, EVEN if it meant paying more than for foreign-made goods.

The only way politicians will start listening to the people is if they’re told, in no uncertain terms, that they WILL be voted out of office if they continue to disarm America unilaterally – in the trade or military arena – no matter how much money they get from their corporate sugar daddies.

Folks, please call your Congressman and both of your Senators and tell them you will NEVER vote for them EVER AGAIN if they vote for any new free trade agreements.